Researchers touch-up flexible displays
By Stuart Turton
Posted on 27 Feb 2009 at 11:43
Researchers have developed the first flexible display that is also touch sensitive.
The breakthrough comes from the Flexible Display Center, which last year rolled out a prototype screen that was as thin as a piece of paper and could be rolled up to be put in the pocket.
The touchscreen version builds on that base by integrating a low-power display from E Ink and Epson. The E Ink screens are a more advanced version of that currently found in the Amazon Kindle and other eBook readers, and consumes power only when the electronic paper is activated.
Information sketched on the display can be stored or sent wirelessly before erasing.
According to the team, the challenge lay in creating a touchscreen capable of flexing without losing information. Current resistive touch screens, such as that used in the Nintendo DS, require a point of contact to be made between two separate conducting layers.
Flexing the screen can therefore register false touch inputs. Alternatively, capacitive touch screens, such as that in the iPhone, are just too brittle.
Instead the team developed an inductive touch-screen technology, which uses magnetic input to distort a Teonex polyethylene napthalate layer, allowing it to bend without registering false positives.
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