Sony rollable OLED display Credit: Sony Corporation
Here’s another innovation making the transition from science fiction to commercial reality: A digital display that can roll up like paper. Sony’s newly developed 4.1 inch (10 cm) rollable OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) is only 80 micrometers thick – about the thickness of a human hair. Being thin makes it flexible enough to wrap around a standard pencil (as if anyone used them any more…). Rollable computer displays can be space saving, for example a computer the size of pen with a good sized roll-out screen. Also, eventually, the thin material will be less expensive to manufacture (fewer materials) so that very large displays can be packed in a simple tube.
The new display features a 423×240 resolution, 16.8 million colors, and a 1000:1 contrast ratio. The specs aren’t spectacular, but that’s hardly the point. Sony demonstrates this screen by running streaming video on it – while it’s being rolled, again and again. It’s not ready for prime time just yet. Lots of details to be worked out in manufacturing, electronics packaging (the surrounding electronics of the display), and control systems (e.g. software), but as they say, “This is the future.” Or at least one piece of it. If you want to see what this type of display looks like in practice, check out the DVD of Red Planet, a so-so sci-fi flick with some nifty tech.