Imagine the time when we had black and white CRT display. The first of it’s kind was only capable of displaying a dot on a phosphorus screen. Today we can we what transformation the display technologies have gone through. There were color CRTs then came LCDs, then came LEDs, we got full HD Resolution, Now we are talking about 4K television which is 4 times the resolution of the full HD TV. Displays have transformed considerably in form. They are now much Thinner, consume less energy and space, but through all this transformation one thing was very common, use of glass.
Samsung made a breakthrough by replacing this glass with plastic which made a phenomenal change to what display of the future will be like. They introduced Samsung Youm, which is a plastic based flexible OLED display which can be BENT. No isn’t that awesome? Let’s see how awesome it is in the video below.
So Samsung Youm is a flexible OLED display. It has a flexible form because it is NOT made with glass. Yes, not with glass. all the LED are printed on a sheet of plastic. The display is OLED which is Organic Light Emitting Diode display. LED’s have their own light source so they don’t require a backlight which is the case with LCD displays. Although, it is foldable, you wont want to fold and press it like a paper as it will damage the screen by giving it creases. It is absolutely thin. It has very little power consumption as the LEDs have their own power source.
Samsung came out with that display with lots of applications in mind. For example, it will replace the traditional gorilla glass in the smartphones which will make the phone screen unbreakable(you just got rid of the glass part of the display). The display going into traditional smartphones will loose its flexibility. The demo phone shown in the video demonstrates a display which is extended over the edge to show notification, but this is not the exact application of a flexible display. You are taking away its flexibility. The Concept devices in the video makes some sense with the use of flexible screen, but they don’t seem to be realistically implementable for the next few years. Even if phones with rolling displays are made, how durable will they be?? Well the applications need to be thought out.
Are these displays useful and usable? The display looks very suitable for the application of wearable computing. Imagine having those displays on your clothes. Having a coat which will do your body analysis and display the result on the display, which goes very well with the coat. The question arises, Will that be washable? These displays can be a very good option where fragility is a concern. There seems a conditions where it is a war between usefulness and usability? One more question arises is that is it really needed? Even if it is needed, should it replace all the displays or it should be augmented with the current display technology? Will this innovation have any meaning if the devices on which it goes is not flexible??? These are the concerns to worry about.
Users of this device are pretty much not concerned with the display itself. They are concerned with the content shown. As far as the content is shown, any display showing the right thing at the right time is perfect. Imagine having a flexible display like a wrist band serving as a clock and health monitor is a good option, but having it on your shirt showing your facebook feed can cause severe privacy issues which the user don’t want. Imagine if you are wearing such a shirt in a public place and if it shows some obscene content will make it loose all it purpose. Although, it might seem cool to have a shirt like that, but wrong place and time along with the wrong content make it lose all its importance.
In Conclusion, the Samsung Youm display is a very nice innovation. For it being a useful innovation, it should be applied to the right device serving the display of data at the right time and place in the right form. It can definitely prove a great leap towards wearable computing and that is where the need of flexible displays is needed more.