ahead of the curve: but bendable screens still seek breakthrough - barrier films for food packaging
Singapore/New York (Reuters)-
The arrival of popular wearable devices this year, such as computer monitors and packaging tied to your wrist
Glasses are just a step toward a bigger screen revolution
It can be bent, folded and rolled up.
Once freed from today's relatively heavy, fragile and fixed glass display, tomorrow's device may look very different and the screen can roll, attach to uneven surfaces, and even stretch.
But there is still a way to go.
A paradise for product designers
Once the technology is resolved, "said Jonathan Melnick, who showed the technology for Lux Research analysis.
The prototype is not lacking --
South Korea's Samsung Electronics this year showed a display that extends from the side of the device --
But obstacles remain: overcome technical problems, figure out how to produce parts in bulk at a cheap price, and provide devices that are attractive enough for gadget buyers.
According to display search, by 2016, the global market for small displays will more than double to about $72 billion.
LCD display is still the main (LCDs)
, Which requires backlight, sitting between two pieces of glass, from the laptop to the tablet, the screen is the main contributor to the weight of the device.
"Most of the weight of the tablet is the glass structure in the display and the supporting structure around it to prevent it from cracking," said Kevin morrishig, a former engineer at Cisco Systems, Hewlett-
Packard and Palm
The dominant position of the LCD has been threatened by lighter organic LEDs (OLEDs)
No backlight required, brighter, providing a wider viewing angle and better color contrast
Can be printed on several layers.
However, the glass is lighter and more flexible.
Corning's tempered Gorilla Glass has become the preferred screen for many smartphones, and the company will provide curved glass edges for phones as soon as possible this year.
It is now also promoting Willow Glass, which can be as thin as a piece of paper, flexible enough to wrap around the equipment or structure.
Initially, Willow will be used as a coating for products such as solar panels, but in the end it is expected to create curved products.
A key selling point for willow trees is more efficient productioncalled roll-to-
Roll manufacturing like a printing machine, rather than mass manufacturing at higher cost today.
But James Clapham, head of Corning Glass Technology Group, told Reuters that there is still a way to go for Willow to commercialize as a flexible product.
Glass has its limit.
"You can bend it, but you can't bend it all the time," said Adrian burden, a British consultant who has been involved in several startups.
Ups related to display technology and owns patents in this field.
This means that while Glass may continue to play a dominant role in bending display devices, screens that users can bend, fold and roll can be plastic.
But plastic is not as strong as glass.
"Once you introduce a plastic substrate, you will be sensitive to the environment," Burden said . ".
So while OLED and plastic seem to be supporting technologies, they create an additional problem when laying: they need to be like this --
It is called barrier film to prevent the leakage of oxygen and moisture in each layer.
"In a variety of products, such as food packaging, there are barrier films, but the challenge is that OLED is one of the most sensitive materials we follow, so it will pose a huge challenge, says Melnick of lux Research. Singapore-based Tera-
Barrier membranes, for example, have developed a method to block leaks in layers using nanoparticles.
Director Senthil Ramadas said that after years of delay, the company started production in Japan last month and plans to mass production by the end of the year2014.
"You have several challenges in the value chain," he said . ".
"All these things need to be set up and will not appear until now.
"One more question: All the materials in the flexable display also need to be flexable --
Includes transparent conductors that drive current through the display.
Several technologies are racing to replace fragile and expensive oxidized indium tin (ITO)
Used for most fixed displays, including nano wires, carbon nanotubes, graphene, and conductive grids.
Some of these technologies are close to production.
For example, a company based in Cima Nanotech has introduced a silver coating
Based on the conductive ink on the paper, and then from
The strands arranged in a few microns form a conductive layer.
This shift in potential technology is unlikely to produce products immediately.
"Prototypes can be made," Melnick said . " "But it's a long way from mass production, because many of the processes and materials in these devices are facing production and scaling problems.
Some industry insiders say this is gradually changing as production shifts from mass production parts to more efficient rollingto-roll process.
"Batch is more expensive and slower than volume --to-
Rollers requiring new equipment and design
And it takes time. Barrier.
All of this requires money and manufacturers must believe in investing in new equipment.
Even after the success of Apple's iPhone-promoted Gorilla Glass, Corning had to work hard to prepare Willow displays for customers.
Customers want thinner equipment, easier to produce glass, but Willow needs completely different manufacturing equipment, Clappin saidup.
"When we talk about the commercial use of willow trees, a large part of our development activities is to enable the ecosystem to deal with what is essentially a new material," Clappin added . ".
"No one is used to using curved and moving glass.
This is a new material.
The ecosystem needs to be trained to handle it.
He saw the demand for Willow, especially for video gamers --
Based on the curved screen, but still not quite convinced with the scrollable or foldable screen.
"This is the case with Conformable in the near future.
Flexible, flexible, folding-
"I saw this further and I'm not even sure it's a viable product," he said . ".
This in turn needs to figure out what the end user might want.
Shanghai Brandon Edwards said: "For us and our customers, this is not so much a flexible display technology as it is
Executive Creative Director of frog, a design company based in Aricent, India.
"This is a big part of it, but what are the practical ways we can bring our products to market, how fast, and what is the right rhythm?
What will consumers react?
"For companies like Samsung that have a lot of money, it could mean making prototypes like those shown at the International Technology Fair.
However, this does not guarantee the success of product sales.
Sony, for example, launched a flexible OLED display as early as 2007.
"Six years later, they didn't think of anything," said Zhang Jie, a senior scientist at the Institute of Metal Research and Engineering in Singapore.
"If Samsung is really going to push this, the app really needs to drive people and make them want it.
This slowed down the process.
At the end of 2011, Samsung told analysts that it plans to introduce flexible displays to the phone "sometime in 2012, hopefully earlier", but a year later, the company said, the technology is still under development ".
In an investment report last month, Jefferies said that while Samsung may launch an "unbreakable" screen this year, it did not expect Samsung devices to show flexibility until 2014. 15.
In the end, solving technical problems may be only half the battle.
"This is an eternal problem in the special materials industry," said Lutz Grubel, Japan --
Marketing director of Xensation Cover 3D glass from German glass manufacturer Schott.
"You have something, a material, and you are looking for an application.
This is the game.