Royole Brings Stretchable Micro-LED Display For Future Wearables
The new micro-LED displays from Royole allow improved transmittance up to 70% along with 130% stretchability, making them ideal for applications such as wearable electronics, biomedical applications or vehicle design.
Although we don’t hear anymore about Royole, this Chinese company created the world’s first foldable phone in late 2018. Now, they are working on another flexible technology. This time they have come up with the world’s first stretchable micro-LED display technology. This latest flexible display is built on an elastic stretch circuit.
Why do you need a stretchable display? Well, it is expected to be used for next-generation devices that are likely to be stretched into different shapes. It is somewhat like the curved screens that you see nowadays on monitors, TVs, and phones - except the curve on two axes.
Stretchable Prototype Display - Features
The Royole’s stretchable display is a prototype for now. It measures a 2.7-inch micro-LED display with 96 x 60 pixels. According to Royole, the stretchable display has around 130% stretchability. The company has selected micro-LEDs due to their clear encapsulation and ultra-low aperture ratio. It also provides a resolution of up to 120 pixels per inch. This resolution is the same that supports laptop screens.
The 2.7-inch, 96 x 60 demo panel might not look like much by itself, but it can take more beating than other flexible screens. The display is stretchable like you’d expect, but you can also twist it, pull it, and deform it with concave and convex shapes. While the technology isn’t quite “3D free form” like Royole claims (convex bends can’t go beyond 40 degrees, for instance), it can take a lot of punishment while working properly.
The technology even enables transmittance of around 70-percent, which is higher than existing flexible OLED technology. They also have enough space for several pattern designs that are difficult to achieve with LED or AMOLED displays.
Flexible Micro-LED For Future Devices
The major advantage that Royole micro-LED stretchable display offers over the current flexible OLED displays is that the micro-LED stretchables allow up to 70% of transmittance of light and 130% stretchability, making it highly applicable for smart appliances that requires transparency.
The display can be utilized in applications include augmented and virtual reality, wearable electronics, TVs & smarphones, wristwatches, signage, biomedical devices (glasses) and vehicle design (interior windshields) etc.
The most innovative aspect about this flexible micro-LED display is that it can be twisted and bent in various ways. It can be used in smart fabrics and clothes, turned into spherical forms for maps or globes, used in translucent OLED solutions for devices, like sunglasses or car windshields.
Besides the vehicle design and other biomedical applications, Royole believes this stretchable display technology can also be used in wearable devices with better durability. The display can be rolled and folded, as well as capable of 3D free-form shaping, like twisting, convex, pulling, and concave deformations. So, it’s able to achieve what seems impossible with current flexible displays.
Here are a few details about the new type of display panel. They can be stretched to 130% and bent to 40º. They can be transparent too, letting through 70% of the light (much more than transparent OLED panels do, e.g. LG’s transparent TV lets through only 40% of the light). The current designs can have pixel densities up to 120 ppi, comparable to a typical laptops.
True to their name, micro-LEDs are smaller than OLEDs, which allows for a bigger gap between individual pixels. This means more room for stretchy material between the pixels (and more room for light to go through).
Using the three-dimensional folding technology, the flexible display can accommodate compact smart devices or other objects found in routine life. The firm also believes that futuristic stretchable electronics can fundamentally change the way the world designs and builds smart tools and devices for the future.
While the stretchable display won’t be available anytime soon, it will be exciting to see what sort of devices this technology could create. It evokes visualization for futuristic cities, where everything is expected to run via screens. We have to wait for more to see this technology in everyday use. But we are hopeful that it will be worth the wait.