Try hard enough to bend your smartphone, tablet or laptop in half and you’ll probably break it. But gadgets of the future could be a bit more… flexible. Or at least damage-resistant.
A handful of devices on the market already use flexible displays. That doesn’t mean you can roll them up, but it does mean that the screens don’t crack when pressure is applied.
Now LG is showing off a new 18 inch OLED display that can continue to show pictures or videos even when rolled up. It’s one of the largest flexible displays produced to date, and it could make laptops or TVs of the future a bit more resistant to damage… or maybe it could even show up in truly flexible gadgets that you can roll up like a tube of paper for easy storage.
LG’s flexible OLED is also semi-transparent, allowing you to see what’s happening both on the 1280 x 810 pixel screen and behind it, depending on the opacity.
Researchers are also working on flexible batteries that could make it easier to create devices in unusual shapes.
For example, the MIT Technology Review reports that Imprint Technology is working on flexible rechargeable batteries that could be printed using an industrial screen printer and slapped into a wristband-style device. The batteries probably won’t hold enough power to run a smartphone for days at a time, but it could enable small, light-weight wearable gadgets.
As flexible display and battery technology advances, it’s not hard to imagine a future where you really can fold a smartphone, tablet or laptop in half or roll it up for easy storage.