Exploring Technologies in the Race for Flexible and Wearable Phones

Sun, 06/08/2014 - 3:40pm

Mobile phones and associated wearable electronics are now part of what is called the Internet of People. They will often have very flexible displays, some tightly rolled into a conventional phone body. When pulled out, these screens will gather useful amounts of electricity from the sun as the user enjoys the large screen created with its haptic (feel what you do) keyboard. Indeed even flexible batteries have been demonstrated recently. Incorporating screens that unroll will be easier now the public has accepted larger phones because these can more easily accommodate roll-out displays. Samsung has said that it will launch phones with such screens. The screens pull out, click into place then snap in for storage. See the IDTechEx reports, “Internet of People: Technology 2015-2025” and “Internet of Things (IoT): Business Opportunities 2015-2025.”
Achieving this poses formidable hardware challenges calling for printed organic light-emitting diode displays (OLEDs) and other printed electronics including alternatives to indium tin oxide (ITO) transparent electrodes, where printed silver nanowires and fine metal patterning are strong candidates. Flexible barrier layers are also needed. See “Printed, Organic & Flexible Electronics: Forecasts, Players & Opportunities 2013-2023” and “Barrier Films for Flexible Electronics 2013-2023: Needs, Players, Opportunities.”
To get reasonable battery charging from the sun, new tightly-rollable printed photovoltaics PV is being developed including fully organic photovoltaics with about 10% efficiency. See the IDTechEx reports, “Organic Photovoltaics (OPV) 2013-2023: Technologies, Markets, Players” and “Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC/DSC) 2013-2023: Technologies, Markets, Players.”
Those designing “must have” phone hardware will jump at flexible, foldable and tightly rollable technology – a dream ticket for the creative designer. Competitive advantage beckons.

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