As a tech-savvy generation, we have accustomed to operating smart devices with various types of displays. But have you ever thought of a smartphone with a stretchable display?
Yes! Researchers from Stanford University have made this possible. In a recent study published in Nature, they have developed a groundbreaking method of creating an incredibly elastic light-emitting polymer. This material can be used to make bendable and stretchable displays for smart devices as it is functional even when stretched out to twice its size. While an actual stretchable display is still in the making, speculations and anticipations regarding its possible advantages have already started.
Revolutionizing Human-Machine Interface
Zhenan Bao (Senior Author of the study and Chemical Engineer at Stanford) anticipates that these Stretchable displays can allow a new way of human-machine interface. Human-machine interface (HMI) is any device or software—like keyboard, touchscreen, etc.—that allows a person to interact with a machine or system. Given the increasing use of digital devices in every field, HMIs are becoming more sophisticated to make operations easy.
Despite numerous advancements, almost all the HMIs we are using today are flat, rigid, or fragile and lack the ability to reshape and interactively respond to users. The introduction of stretchable displays can surely add new dimensions to the HMIs. The flexibility to reshape will not only add more possibilities but also facilitate the user in many ways, increasing the human-machine engagement. It will also provide HMI makers with a new perspective and encourage them to make more interactive, intuitive HMIs.
A Myriad of Advantages
The reshapable or stretchable display, if it is affordable, can offer a plethora of other advantages as well. Since the all-polymer film can be directly joined to an arm or finger and does not rip when flexed or bent, it will enable wearable trackers to have their display directly attached to the screen. Moreover, stretchable displays can be used to generate reshapable interactive screens or even develop 3D landscapes on a map.
Although there are still a lot of question marks on the feasibility and affordability of the stretchable display, this discovery is surely a big step towards a transformation in the electronics industry!