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Flexible LCD's get closer to production, TRADIM develops flexible LCD display

March 29, 2012

Flexible displays have been a kind of ‘’what if’’ concepts for a while now and, even though companies such as Samsung have teased us with gadgets sporting such a cool feature, we haven’t yet seen one in action, intended for actual hands of consumers. As a matter of fact, I’m sure that there are still a lot of you who think of flexible displays as something out of a sci-fi novel or movie, right?

And even though we are still unable to report on developments regarding actual products featuring flexible screens, we are happy today to bring to your attention a very interesting and juicy prototype.

The unnamed ‘’Curved LCD Display’’ concept is the result of almost ten years (!) of work from TRADIM (The Technology Research Association for Advanced Display Materials), a conglomerate of chemical makers and electronic manufacturers formed with the sole purpose of creating a new panel on a film substrate.

After seven years of pointless efforts, the company proceeded in softening the entire panel and finally managed to achieve its goal by using a roll-to-roll (R2R) method. The R2R process consisted of using rolls of flexible plastic and metal foils in order to improve flexibility.

And improve it they did, as the display can now be bent to a curvature radius of about 15 cm (almost six inches) without breaking, snapping or cracking. According to tests conducted by TRADIM, the screen could even withstand a curvature radius of 30 cm at temperatures of up to 80 degrees Celsius or humidity rates of up to 85 percent.

The prototype developed by TRADIM measures 3.5-inches in diagonal and 0.49 mm in thickness, featuring a pixel density of 114 ppi. The new panel can be easily bent in a convex or a concave direction and it could be used for designing flexible smartphones, tablets or even HDTVs.

The group behind the concept’s creation, that started with one purpose and one purpose alone, will be dissolved at the end of the month, but the future commercialization of the panel will be handled by Sharp, NEC and Hitachi, which are only three of the big electronic names involved in the TRADIM project. The video below is a from a little while ago, but serves as a good example of where this technology is headed (if they can deal with the glare).

I don’t know about you, but I’m extremely excited by the idea of flexible gadgets manufactured by Sharp, NEC or whomever they license/sell it too, and I can definitely see myself buying such a gizmo when and if it hits the market. However, there’s a good possibility that the companies behind the display’s making will sell the rights to other well-established names in the industry or help in building similar products. That would mean that soon enough we won’t see just one or two gadgets sporting flexible displays, but we could see a bunch of such devices battling it out for our pleasure.

Okay, that’s enough dreaming for one article, so for the time being we should rather kick back, relax, feast our eyes with this prototype’s great looks and not worry about what the future might or might not hold.

Would you buy a flexible watch? Or how about a tablet scroll idea ala the image above? It’s like a digital Moses equivalent, you know? Nice and compact though, nice and easy to throw into a bag, or to have in a breast pocket. Massive computing potential under a small footprint. Chuck a projector into one of these bad boys and i’m sold. You?