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  • Film Enables Touch Displays That Respond to Bending, Heat
Feb 2015
WURZBURG, Germany, Feb. 6, 2015 — A novel film could be used to make flexible displays that respond not only to touch but also to bending and heat.

Developed by a team from the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research (ISC), the film is based on piezoelectric printing pastes that render flexible polymer films sensitive to deformation. Electronic pressure sensors can then be printed on them.

The film, which can be produced inexpensively, can also register changes in temperature, which allows their use as proximity detectors. The temperature sensitivity can be suppressed if it is undesirable for a particular application.  

Sensitive flexible film for touch displays
Sensitive flexible film for touch displays. Courtesy of Joanneum Research.

Printed polymer displays provide freedom of design because they are flexible enough to fit nearly any surface. They are also lighter and more robust than conventional touch-sensitive glass displays.

The film was developed under the European Flashed Project, which began in 2013, and has led to the creation of Flex Sense film by a team from ISC, Joanneum Research, the Media Interaction Lab of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, Plastic Logic and Microsoft Research.

The researchers originally used particles containing lead, but are now working to develop an environmentally friendly material that will also not impede the technology’s sensitivity. They said other developments under the Flashed project “will help to realize large-area, lightweight, robust, flexible touchscreens in the future.”

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