By Kathleen Hickey
The military, which has been using organic light-emitting-diode (OLED) screen technology in a growing number of applications, could now have a new technology for its toolbox. The military is finding the OLED video technology to be useful in situational awareness, thermal imaging, simulation and training, among other applications.
A new prototype, developed by Sony, is thinner than a hair and is flexible enough to be rolled tightly around a pencil, even as it continues playing a video.
The technology is based on a new organic thin-film transistor made directly on a flexible substrate, which eliminates the traditional need for rigid driver chips. As a result, the display can be rolled around or stretched.
The new 16 million-color display measures 4.1 inches wide with a contrast ratio of under 1,000:1 and a resolution of 432 x 240 pixels (121 pixels per inch), with a negligible weight.
Since the technology is created using a roll-printing process, it could be relatively cheap to produce, said Kit Eaton in a Fast Company article on the subject.
Military OLED applications range from wearable electronic displays, including visor-mounted displays, to high-contrast automotive instrument panels and windshield displays. With the introduction of a lightweight, flexible, stretchable screen, other government and military applications for the technology could expand. The new technology could also reduce the weight of electronics equipment currently carried by soldiers in the field, who sometimes carry as much as 100 pounds of equipment.