Samsung Showed Off an OLED Display That Stretches Like Rubber

Samsung Showed Off an OLED Display That Stretches Like Rubber

For starters, improving the flexibility of an OLED screen, and its ability to ‘snap back’ and recover from being folded or bent, will help minimize one of the big downsides of the current crop of folding smartphones: a visible crease that over time gets more pronounced. Fold a piece of paper and it’s permanently damaged, resulting in a visible crease that will never go away. Fold a thin sheet of rubber and it will look perfectly fine with no visible signs of damage after it’s unfolded.

A flexible screen that can subtly bulge also opens up new opportunities for how we interact with a touchscreen. Trying to use on-screen touch controls to play a video game is problematic because there’s no tactile feedback like there is with a controller in hand. You have to divide your focus between keeping an eye on the action in the game, and ensuring your fingers are properly positioned over on-screen buttons. But if those buttons were slightly raised so that your fingers could feel and distinguish them, gaming on a touchscreen device would suddenly be much different.

There’s also the potential of a stretchable OLED screen being used as a tool for the visually impaired, letting Braille letters instantly appear on screen, or giving texture and depth to images so they could be interpreted through touch. Of course, these applications depend on several factors, including to what degree an OLED can be stretched (could tiny bumps actually rise high enough to be felt?) as well as the development of under-display actuators to actually warp and stretch the screen with more fidelity and detail than what Samsung recently demonstrated.

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