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  • Bendable Display Screens
Feb 2009
TEMPE, Ariz., Feb. 24, 2009 – Screens typically used on mobile phones, laptops and televisions have consistently become sharper and thinner and are changing the way we send and receive information. Now, a breakthrough in flexible display technology has demonstrated a screen that is as thin as a piece of paper and that can bend like one, too.

By using flexible components, a team at Arizona State University’s Flexible Display Center (FDC) has announced the world’s first “touchscreen” active matrix display on a flexible, glass-free substrate.

Achieved through a collaborative effort between the center and its partners, E Ink Corp. and DuPont Teijin Films, it is the first demonstration of a flexible electronic display that enables real-time user input.


This mock-up shows one possible outcome for the flexible technology being developed at ASU’s Flexible Display Center. Image courtesy of ASU’s FDC.

The breakthrough comes as a result of combining FDC’s low-temperature thin-film transistor technology, DuPont Teijin Films’ high-performance Teonex polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) films and E Ink’s Vizplex-ink laminate to form active matrix electrophoretic (electronic paper) displays. The touchscreen capability is enabled by integrating a low-power display controller that was developed by E Ink and Epson and demonstrated as part of E Ink’s developer’s kit.

The flexible touchscreen display supports real-time user input either by stylus pen or by touch, and it consumes power only when the electronic paper is activated. Once sketched on the display, information can be stored or sent wirelessly before erasing.

“Pen and touch input has become the preferred user interface in many portable electronic devices,” said Michael McCreary, vice president of research and advanced development at E Ink. “The ability to incorporate the flexible touch feature into the E Ink Vizplex display will enable a host of new applications that require shatterproof displays.”

“We believe successful deployment of flexible touchscreen technology can stimulate a number of applications that will allow Army soldiers, and ultimately other users, to input, store or transmit real-time data from remote locations using ultralow-power displays that are rugged, sunlight-readable, lightweight and thin,” said Nick Colaneri, director of the FDC. “This is an outstanding example of how the Flexible Display Center collaborates with our partners and other technology providers to create innovative solutions that address the rapidly growing market for flexible electronic displays.”
A video demonstrating the new touchscreen is available here.

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The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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