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Sony Working on Bendable, Folding OLED Screens

Japanese Consumer Electronics giant Sony has published results of research it carried out with the Max Planck institute over the possibility of mass-market bending displays which could replace rigid LCDs and plasma screens.

The research paper called Annihilation Assisted Upconversion: All-Organic, Flexible and Transparent Multicolour Display presents the promising Organic LED technology under a new light.

The screens, which are less than a millimetre thick, could herald a whole new generation of devices that are yet to be invented. From Head Up Displays umbrellas which broadcast news to T-shirts displaying live TV streams, possibilities are endless.

Although the first commercial models are still far, the first trials are promising and cold potentially allow laptops and smartphones to run much longer since these OLED screens consume a fraction of the power current displays do.

Eventually, bendable, transparent OLED screens could be stacked to produce 3D images and their outstanding characteristics means that their contrast ratio and viewing angles are far, far better than existing products.

The researchers wrote in the Journal of Physics that "The displays have excellent brightness and are transparent, bendable and flexible."

Sony archrival, Dutch company Philips, has also been working on superthin bendable displays for more than four years now and a spin off, LG-Philips, launched the first flexible colour A4-size e-paper back in May 2007.

You can view the video of the bendable OLED screen here (opens in new tab).

Below, LG-Philips' e-paper display

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.