Sony shows rollable OLED display

Sony has developed an OLED screen that can be wrapped around a pencil while showing video.

Sony has developed a flexible color display that's sturdy enough to be wrapped around a pencil while still showing video images.

The screen will be detailed on Thursday at the Society for Information Display conference in Seattle and ahead of that Sony released a video of it in operation.

The video shows the display being rolled and unrolled around a cylinder 4 millimeters in diameter. The screen displays a video image and doesn't appear to be affected by the rolling. There are numerous bad pixels on the screen, likely the result of bad transistors or connections, but such faults are common in prototype displays.

The 4.1-inch screen has a resolution of 432 by 240 pixels, which is similar to that offered by many mass-market cell phones.

Sony has previously demonstrated an OLED screen that can be gently bent, but with nothing like the degree of flexibility of the new screen.

The screen contains newly-developed organic thin-film transistors that are used to make the driver circuitry to run the display. The transistors can be directly made on a flexible substrate and remove the need for rigid driver chips that would prevent the screen from being rolled.

Flexible and rollable screens are a hot area of display research. The screens are thinner, lighter and generally tougher than conventional glass-based displays. Researchers envisage them being used in applications such as portable gadgets, where their sturdiness and physical characteristics would be an valuable.

Martyn Williams is Tokyo Bureau Chief for IDG News Service and can be reached by e-mail at martyn_williams@idg.com and on Twitter @martyn_williams

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

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