November 28, 2005 11:32 AM PST

Samsung unveils largest flexible LCD

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Samsung Electronics has created a flexible LCD screen that measures 7 inches diagonally, another technology that may one day be used in products such as e-books.

The display is functionally similar to the LCD (liquid crystal display) panels used inside TVs and notebooks, but with a crucial difference. Instead of containing glass substrates, the screen features a substrate of flexible plastic, allowing the display to bend. The plastic will not break when flexed, according to Samsung, and its pliancy paves the way for flexible color screens.

The new screen, which sports a resolution of 640 pixels by 480 pixels, has twice the surface area of another prototype shown off in January.

Samsung's flexible LCD

The flexible screens rely on a low-temperature manufacturing process for transistors, developed by Samsung, that does not melt or distort the plastic substrate.

Several different technologies are vying to become a standard for the flexible and low-energy screens that will be found in a range of consumer devices. Philips and start-up E Ink are promoting a display in which black-and-white microcapsules embedded in a screen flip to create words. Unlike an LCD, E Ink's displays do not require a backlight and are therefore more energy-efficient. Sony has adopted the screens for an electronic book.

Other companies, meanwhile, tout organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), which also consume less energy than LCDs.

Samsung is pouring money into OLEDs and has included the technology in some of its cell phones and in prototype TVs. OLED, though, remains a relatively new technology, and questions about brightness, durability and functionality remain.

By contrast, the properties of LCDs are well-known.

The flexible LCD panel was developed under a three-year program funded by Samsung and the Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy.


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flexible screen TV
I can't think of a time, since we got our first TV in 1951, that I have
felt a need to bend the screen...
Posted by David Keenan (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Imagine the possibilities
Think about those portable movie screens that people use for
projecting movies, slideshows, etc. Now imagine this technology
where that screen is actual screen and not something that's
projected onto. A large screen like this could be rolled up out of
the way, out of sight until it's needed. All of the circuitry could be
contained within the compartment that the screen comes out of.
Posted by (3 comments )
Link Flag
LCD TV's are made with glass, if it drops or something hits it, IT BREAKS. With flexible screens its not going to break as easy. The components will break before the actual screen does and i would love to finally have a laptop or TV with a screen that lasts just as long if not longer than the TV itself. "I would know, I've broken the LCD Screen of my laptop and my TV".
Posted by me_plz (1 comment )
Link Flag
This is an excellent example...
Of government support of High Tech manufacturing by helping to fund this research.
(Too bad we're stuck with Bozos like Gore who laud that they helped to create the internet.)

On a more serious note, its the intelligent funding of research that has credible commercial applications that will drive our economies.

To the point of the other poster. No, you wouldn't "flex" an old TV, but you may want to have a video device that you could roll up in to a scroll.
Imagine a GPS Map that you could pull out of your pack and unscroll it which will show you your current position ..... you get the idea. Or a smaller screen for portable video phones ...
Posted by dargon19888 (412 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hey bright boy, Al Gore hasn't held a public office in almost a decade.
Posted by george_liquor (977 comments )
Link Flag
Go Samsung!
Good job!
Posted by (37 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Now if they can only...
Go to an 8x11" display, with a touchable membrane...
I'm sure that there's a real potential for some DARPA funds for that project ...
Posted by dargon19888 (412 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Very nice
I'm sure DARPA will be working feverishly to adapt this technology for the battlefield.

But for me, it's interesting because I'm a hiker. If it could, say, mix the qualities of GPS and Google Earth, and provide myself with a transparent, bendable screen that I could carry in my backpack, and unfurl and frame against real landscape to get my bearings... yes, that would be excellent. *rubbing hands together*

Nicely done, Samsung.
Posted by Stez (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
so does that mean we can have lcd books? weird....
Posted by triexel (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why? Here's why...
Think of making presentations on business trips. Now, if you go to a site without a decent A/V setup you need to travel with 3 things: laptop, projector and screen. Add to this bundle a suitcase and briefcase and you are over the limit for number of items you can check/carry on for some airlines.

With a roll up screen you could realistically carry a screen that is in a 4 foot long tube with a self contained set of "feet" for to have it stand up when it is unrolled. If it displays a true 1080p HDTV format then you have the equivalent of a 98 inch (diagonal) screen.

Thus in order to do a very nice presentation all you need to take is this monitor/screen rolled up and a laptop.

Quite true, this kind of resolution and size are several years off, but something of this nature IS coming eventually.

While eliminating the projector might not seem like much to many people, for those road warriors who are going to do presentations at sites without nice A/V setups this could be a gift from the gods.
Posted by shadowself (202 comments )
Reply Link Flag

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