HP, ASU Unveil Paper-Like, Flexible Display

Such displays could someday reduce the costs of production of laptops, smartphones and other electronic devices.

Antone Gonsalves, Contributor

December 8, 2008

2 Min Read

HP, Arizona State's Paper-Like, Flexible Display (click for larger image)

Hewlett-Packard and Arizona State University on Monday introduced a prototype of a paper-like, flexible computer display made almost entirely of plastic.

The technology, which consumes less power and up to 90% fewer materials by volume than contemporary computer displays, is a milestone in industry efforts to create a mass market in high-resolution, flexible displays, said the two organizations. Such displays could someday reduce the costs of production of laptops, smartphones, and other electronic devices. Other popular applications could include electronic paper and signage.

The unbreakable display was created by ASU's Flexible Display Center and HP using "self-aligned imprint lithography technology" invented in HP Labs. SAIL makes it possible for the image on the display to maintain its form despite the bending and flexing. In addition, the technology enables the production of displays in a roll, rather than sheet by sheet, which reduces the cost of the manufacturing process.

"In addition to providing a lower-cost process, SAIL technology represents a more sustainable, environmentally sensitive approach to producing electronic displays," Carl Taussig, director of information surfaces at HP labs, said in a statement.

The plastic material on which the image is displayed is flexible Teonex Polyethylene Naphthalate, or PEN, developed by DuPont Teijin Films. The HP-ASU display also uses E Ink's Vizplex imaging film, which enables images to remain on the display without applying voltage, which greatly reduces power consumption for viewing text. E Ink makes nonflexible displays used today in electronic books, such as Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Reader.

Market researcher iSuppli expects flexible electronic displays to eventually become an important technology in the production of electronic readers and other mobile devices. The market for such displays is expected to soar to $2.8 billion in 2013 from $80 million in 2007, according to iSuppli numbers provided by HP and ASU.

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