Flat screen display technologies are amazing, especially when you compare them with the industry leader of just one decade ago: the CRT. Even though LCD and OLED displays are thin and light by comparison, they both have one important limitation; you have to create them in their final dimensions. You can just cut off a hunk and have it work. This is because LCDs require a layer of liquid material (Liquid Crystal Display), and OLEDs are destroyed by exposure to even small amounts of oxygen or water vapor. This is no problem when you’re making television sets or computer screens, but it is a significant limitation when you’re creating a display for wearable devices.
Researchers at the National Institute for Material Sciences (NIMS) in Japan have come up with a new approach for flexible displays. They have developed a plastic material that can be sprayed onto a flexible plastic substrate. Not only that, but it is a bistable display, which means that you only need to apply an electrical charge when you want to change the information to be displayed. As a result, it requires very little power which is important for many wearable applications.
This technology is still in the early stages of development, but it could lead the way to new display options for lightweight, flexible, and low-power devices.