What are Flexible Displays?

When organic light emitting diode displays (OLED) began to enter mass markets in 2004, consumers found that the new screens were lighter, brighter, and more energy efficient. In contrast to traditional glass-based LCD units, these new displays could be manufactured on thin, pliable plastics, prompting the term "flexible displays.” The popularity of OLED screens is largely due to their electroluminescence, which makes for more readable displays. The arrival of the world’s thinnest OLED display in 2008 by Samsung introduced a screen that was pliable and could easily be folded — features that gave rise to ideas for unbreakable smartphones and bendable tablets. By 2009, popular news outlets including CBS and Entertainment Weekly were including “video in print” inserts in smaller circulations of their magazines, demonstrating the new technology. In late 2012, LG, Samsung, and Philips, among other major players in the electronics industry, announced plans to mass-produce flexible displays by 2013, and Apple recently patented its own pliable display.

As flexible displays gain traction in the consumer market, researchers, inventors, and developers are experimenting with possible applications for teaching and learning. Opportunities offered by flexible OLED screens in educational settings are being considered for e-texts, e-readers, and tablets. Additionally, flexible displays can wrap around curved surfaces, allowing for the possibility of scientific and other instruments that can teach a user how to operate them.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Highly relevant to our conception and design of learning spaces (see below #3).- holeton holeton Oct 25, 2013
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Themes of mobility and pervasiveness seem missing to me. BTW I have not seen any of these flexible displays -- where are they? I'm ready to experiemtn with them.- holeton holeton Oct 25, 2013
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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • BYO displays combined with BYO mobile computing devices would change how we conceive and design learning and teaching environments. If you can bring your own device AND your own display and use it essentially anywhere, the learning space starts to look more and more like a blank slate with networking infrastructure.- holeton holeton Oct 25, 2013
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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