A soldier lies flat on the ground, waiting for information on enemy targets from HQ. He looks at his wrist and sees video footage from a drone that is passing by overhead. The drone identifies the enemy target and then pinpoints the location on an overhead map. The soldier punches some information into the display, then jumps up and moves towards the position.
This may sound like a futuristic battle scene but according to Technology Review, the United States Army is already testing a prototype display that is thin, rugged, and lightweight in order to provide soldiers with more information on the battlefield.
OLED displays are currently available for consumers but the price is extremely high and according to the article, the reliability according is not quite there – “The electrical currents required to switch OLED pixels burn out these transistors; the pixels that are on most frequently start to malfunction.” In addition, they are used with glass, meaning the durability to survive a drop just isn't there and there is no flexibility to the display.
Once these hurdles are overcome and the cost of flexible displays begins to decrease, we will start to see them in places where you traditionally would not have a display. Imagine having a display on the seat in front of you at a sporting event so that you can watch highlights, a wristwatch with a display that shows you the weather forecast for the day, or a display embedded into a piece of clothing for… some reason?
We’re still many years away from consumer-available flexible OLED displays, but what’s the best use of flexible display technology that you can think of?