Impressively, in just 15 years, modern smartphones have progressed to the point where they can be bent and folded to fit more easily in a pocket. But the evolution of flexible displays is far from over, and Samsung recently demonstrated an OLED display that can stretch as if it were made of rubber.
Companies like LG and Samsung often display massive TV displays to wow crowds at trade shows, but at the recent Global Tech Korea 2021, Samsung unveiled a much smaller display - just 13 inches in size - demonstrating one of the newest tricks of flexible OLED screens. Rather than roll up, bend, twist or fold - tricks we've already seen repeatedly on OLED screens - Samsung demonstrated a new display that can stretch and blow out, returning to its original flat state with no signs of damage or wear and tear.
During the demonstration, the 13-inch display reproduced footage of a lava flow and seemed to match the natural movements of the red-hot material as it bulged and bubbled its way across the screen. The last thing anyone wants is an email icon on a smartphone that tries to grab the user's attention, seemingly bursting out of the device through the screen. However, there are other interesting uses for this technology.
For starters, improving the flexibility of the OLED screen will help minimize one of the main drawbacks of the current generation of foldable smartphones: visible creases that become increasingly pronounced over time. Fold a piece of paper, and it will be permanently damaged. Fold a thin sheet of rubber, and once unfolded, it will look perfectly normal, with no visible signs of damage.
The next option is tangible control buttons during games. The current solution of on-screen buttons drawn on top of the game itself is far from perfect due to the lack of tactile connection between your fingers and the flat screen. It's quite different when those on-screen buttons become convex, right?
Another idea is to display text in Braille on such a screen, which would be very helpful for people with visual impairments. From setting items to reading messages or fiction, the possibilities are endless.
It is obviously too early to talk about ready-to-use technology, as it is only a concept and a description of possibilities is only a bold fantasy, but aren't dreams of something better moving technology forward?