Hot on the trail of their CES 2010 announcement to do e-paper, LG shows off a prototype of their flexible e-paper display. Their flexible display is the largest (and perhaps most flexible and bendable) on the market, weighing in at a long 19″ and paper thin. It’s about the size of A3 paper, and it uses metal foil layered over a TFT display, instead of a glass substrate, which allows the image to retain its shape as it bends and warps.
The key difference in the LG prototype is the size and the amount of flexibility it retains. It uses a Gate in Panel (GIP) technology, which places the Gate Driver IC into the panel itself, rather than along the spine or the outside of the device. With other flexible e-paper screens, the Gate Driver is placed into the side of the device, and this seriously limits how bendable and flexible it is.
Right now the 19″ prototype is just the e-paper by itself, without any processor, input device or storage. Adding in these different components would make the paper far less flexible and far less like the newspaper format it’s currently trying to mimic. That’s not to say there aren’t any devices already slotted to use this new technology. Quite the contrary.
The first device we know that will use this technology is Hearst’s Skiff dedicated e-reader, although it’s not quite the full 19″ size of the prototype LG released today.The Skiff’s prototype they had at CES used a full touchscreen technology, and that could easily be integrated with the larger, 19″ model that’s about the size of a normal, print newspaper.
Other devices aren’t yet announced, but we can easily see this being used in lot of different applications, other than e-readers. Since it’s light and flexible, it could be used as wallpaper for rooms, one that is dynamic and could change with a small electronic charge. The same could be done with different bits of apperal, like bags or coats.
This follows on the heels of LG’s announced partnership Taiwanese display maker, Prime View International. This could only mean that they plan on ramping up production in the e-paper market and charging in full steam ahead. In 2007 LG also showed a prototype (much smaller, with a slower refresh rate) that even used full color. Thin, flexible, full color displays are the wave of the future, and could be used in so many different products, not just with e-readers.
If the refresh rate is decent, we could have truly portable computers that make our current wave of netbooks and slim laptops look like dinosaurs. Computers that roll up, slide into an envelope, not even requiring a case to carry them and protect them. With a water proof coating, these thin computers of the future will be able to withstand anything, and manufacturers like LG are paving the way.
e-paper, flexible, lg, newspaper, tft