World's first stretchable micro-LED display demonstrated by Royole ↺
Not many might be aware of this, but the first mass-produced smartphones with foldable screens were released by Royole back in 2018, almost a year before Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. Of course, Royole’s mass production capacities do not compare to Samsung’s, so the first ever foldables were available only in the SEA region. However, since the introduction of the FlexPai folding phones, Royole has been hard at work on perfecting the folding display technology and is now presenting the world’s first stretchable micro-LED displays designed for a wider range of applications.
Royole demonstrated a 2.7-inch 90 x 60 pixel stretchable panel during this year’s SID Display Week. The micro-LED display can be folded like any flexible display, but it can also be twisted, expanded and even deformed into convex and concave shapes. Royole claims that it withstands “3D free form” manipulations, but it still has its limits as the convex deformations cannot go beyond 40 degrees. The resolution is very limited for the moment, but future iterations are expected to reach 120 pixels per inch densities and considerably larger diagonals.
One major advantage over the current flexible OLED displays is that the micro-LED stretchables allow transmittance up to 70% along with 130% stretchability, making it highly applicable for smart solutions requiring transparency. Some of the applications include augmented and virtual reality, wearable electronics, biomedical applications (glasses) and vehicle design (interior windshields).
The small stretchable displays are already mass-producible and can be fitted to bands and smartwatches, but we will probably have to wait at least a few more years for the larger displays with higher resolutions.