How Soon Until Bendable Screens are Market-Ready?

By Dia Ascenzi

For the past couple years, there has been talk of flexible smartphones being right around the corner, but we haven’t really seen it happen yet. Sure, there have been small steps in that direction, and in the past, manufacturers have claimed that it is coming soon, but it seems that the technology involved to make a bendable phone may be just slightly out of reach. Any real attempt at a flexible smartphone so far has been pretty lackluster with battery issues of dead pixels ruining the allure of this bleeding edge tech. So, how long will we be waiting for these phones to become available, really?

A flexible smartphone would surely be a very neat thing to have, but it could also solve some common problems for smartphone users. For one, it could greatly increase the durability of smartphones, something that will always be a huge selling point for smartphone manufacturers.  On the other hand, flexible phones may change how easy and practical it is to go get your phone screen fixed instead of having to replace your phone altogether. There are also some big possibilities for functionality that could accompany a flexible smartphone, as demonstrated by the latest bendable smartphone prototype, the ReFlex.

This prototype was built at Queens University in Canada, and is made up of a 720p flexible LG OLED screen connected to bend sensors and haptic feedback motors. The bend sensors allow the phone screen to react when the phone is bent, allowing the bending of the screen to actually be an interactive thing, and not just the ability to bend your phone. The prototype demonstrates this function by bending the phone to flip pages in an e-book, and even by playing Angry Birds by use of bending the screen. The haptic motors even react to allow you to actually feel the pages turning, or the stretching of the slingshot in Angry Birds. This makes using your screen even more mentally stimulating, as it actually alerts your senses more than a normal touchscreen.

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Andrew Hendricks

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