What are Flexible Displays?


When organic light emitting diode displays (OLED) began to enter mass markets in 2004, consumers found that the new screens were lighter, brighter, and more energy efficient. In contrast to traditional glass-based LCD units, these new displays could be manufactured on thin, pliable plastics, prompting the term "flexible displays.” The popularity of OLED screens is largely due to their electroluminescence, which makes for more readable displays. The arrival of the world’s thinnest OLED display in 2008 by Samsung introduced a screen that was pliable and could easily be folded — features that gave rise to ideas for unbreakable smartphones and bendable tablets. By 2009, popular media outlets including CBS and Entertainment Weekly were including “video in print” inserts in smaller circulations of their magazines, demonstrating the new technology. In late 2012, LG, Samsung, and Philips, among other major players in the electronics industry, announced plans to mass-produce flexible displays by 2014, and Apple recently patented its own pliable display. As flexible displays gain traction in the consumer market, researchers, inventors, and developers are experimenting with possible applications for teaching and learning. Opportunities offered by flexible OLED screens in education settings are being considered for e-texts, e-readers, and tablets. Additionally, flexible displays can wrap around curved surfaces, allowing for the possibility of scientific and other instruments with built-in instruction manuals.

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