Skip to main content

New breakthrough means the rollup tablet could be closer than you think

We’ve heard about the super-thin and flexible smartphone or tablet you can roll up like a piece of paper before – and seen prototypes of these sort of inventions – but a new breakthrough means that all this could be a reality sooner than you think.

This is due to the latest research conducted by Philips and the University of Surrey, who are developing a source-gated-transistor (or SGT) which will facilitate easier (and just as importantly, the more economical) manufacturing of such thin and flexible gadgets.

Previously SGT has been used in analogue applications, but this latest study has cracked how to apply the tech to digital electronics.

The Daily Mail notes that the Scientific Reports journal places some importance on how this is developing, and believes that it could mean flexible tablets might be on sale in the “near future.” However near that future may be is another question, but the implication is that it will be a lot nearer than we thought.

We can see the relevance more with smartphones, but is the flexible tablet that can be folded up and stuffed in a pocket, bag, or wherever, that everyone is banging on about really that much of a big deal? Certainly such a slate would be more portable and convenient, and it wouldn’t break when you dropped it or sat on it – but there are bound to be major compromises in terms of the performance such a device would offer, in the near future anyway. And it’s not as if current tablets are hugely bulky and inconvenient…

This isn’t just about tablets and phones, though, as all manner of smart gadgets could be rolled out with this sort of ultra-thin flexible tech – the Mail cites the example of a smart plaster which could monitor the wearer’s health.

Co-author of the research Professor Ravi Silva, Director of the of the Advanced Technology Institute at the University of Surrey, commented: “This work is a classic example of academia working closely with industry for over two decades to perfect a concept which has wide-reaching applications across a variety of technologies.”

“Whilst SGTs can be applied to mainstream materials such as silicon, used widely in the production of current consumer devices, it is the potential to apply them to new materials such graphene that makes this research so crucial. By making these incredible devices less complex and implicitly very affordable, we could see the next generation of gadgets become mainstream much quicker than we thought.”

Image Credit: Daily Mail