NIMS cutting flexible display panel

Everybody loves flexible displays, of that there’s no doubt. But did you ever think you’d be able to cut them to shape with a pair of scissors? Or that you can do this already? A team of Japanese researchers has just developed a flexible display that works perfectly fine even after you’ve done a little scissor-based handicraft on it.

The team, part of the – wait for it – Electronic Functional Macromolecules Group in the Research Center for Functional Materials at the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan have successfully demoed the panel. While the prototype panel is in an extremely early stage, still only displaying one color and limited is size, for it to work at all is pretty spectacular.

NIMS flexible display scissors

One of the coolest features of the new display tech is that, like e-reader panels, it only needs to be powered very briefly to change visual information. After that, the image will remain until it is powered up and changed once again. While this might simply seem like a “why not?” project, the research team have grand ambitions:

Applications in this category might include smart wearables in which displays are integrated into clothing or into devices that conform to the shape of the user’s wrist. The new display might be attached to the surface of buildings. The researchers also envision using the conformable display material to change the colors of car interiors, sunglasses and windows.

The way the panel works is by removing the typical limitations of oxygen or moisture contamination on the edges of traditional LCD and OLED displays – even flexible ones – when cut. The cuttable display is made from an “organic/metal hybrid polymer with electrochromic properties” applied to flexible substrates. The polymer’s breakthrough property is that it is impervious to moisture and air, meaning it doesn’t need to be sealed if cut.

The researchers now plan to develop larger panels that support more colors.

What would you do with this display? is this the future of flexible tech?