Samsung files artificial muscle patent for use in flexible smartphones

The phone could hold any shape

Samsung has filed two U.S. patents for a smartphone that can bend using what it calls "artificial muscle," which when voltage is applied through an internal controller can hold virtually any shape.

Originally noted by Korean IT News, the first patent (US20160195902) describes a flexible display panel; a flexible image processing board that controls the video signal to the panel; and "a support member provided between the display panel and the image processing board...and at least one artificial muscle connecting at least two plates and configured to be deformed to change a shape of the support member in accordance with a voltage applied thereto."

Samsung flexible smartphone Samsung/U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Samsung described the "artificial muscle" as a matrix of tiny, connected plates that rely on voltage from a controller in the image processing board.

Samsung described the "artificial muscle" as a matrix of tiny, connected plates that -- when bent by an external force -- rely on voltage from a controller in the image processing board so "the artificial muscle can maintain the bending state in response to the sensor sensing that the artificial muscle is bent."

Samsung flexible smartphone Samsung/U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Samsung's second patent describes a smartphone with an upper and lower half; the upper half contains a display panel, the lower half, the control icons.

The second Samsung patent (US20160195938) describes a display panel separated into two regions, a top and bottom, that can be bent in half.

Samsung has been developing flexible smartphone technology for more than four years under the name "Project Valley." In 2013, it revealed a concept smartphone that can fold out into an almost tablet-sized device and uses a new reflective display that changes color like a chameleon. That same year, it launched its first curved display smartphone, the Galaxy Round. It also demonstrated a flexible OLED display.

Last month, Samsung filed a U.S. patent describing "folding Smartphones into halves." The company is expected by many industry pundits to release its first "foldable" device next year -- possibly at the World Mobile Congress conference.

Samsung is not alone in its pursuit of smartphones that can be folded or rolled. Both LG and Apple have filed patents related to their own bendable smartphones. In 2013, LG launched the G Flex, a curved touchscreen. Last year, LG revealed the G Flex 2, a smartphone that offered some slight flexibility, but could not be rolled into a tight tube or folded.

LG flexible smartphone LG

Last year, LG introduced the G Flex 2, a smartphone that offered some slight flexibility, but could not be rolled into a tube or folded.

Last year, Apple was awarded a U.S. patent for "a flexible electronic device, comprising: a flexible housing; a flexible display; a flexible battery; and a printed circuit having at least one flexible portion."

Flexible glass is being developed by multiple companies, several universities and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags mobiles phonesPhones

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucas Mearian

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?