Samsung has to work harder to bring out a perfect foldable display in the future. This is because its latest foldables also is prone to crease and it uses a fragile plastic screen protector on it. But the company is also experimenting with other types of displays that are not heard of in the market. It had brought out a rollable screen some time ago. Now they are demonstrating a new type of display that the company claims is “stretchable”. This OLED screen is unlike foldables and rollables in a way that it is not to be touched or felt all the time.
Foldable displays are most commonly found on smartphones and tablets, making them something you can hold and touch while using them. Rollable displays, on the other hand, have been used for TVs and display installations, as well as attempts to use them on mobile devices. While it’s possible that Samsung may employ its 13-inch stretchy display for huge tablets, it’s more likely that it would be used for TV and non-interactive installations.
This is most likely due to the stretchable screen’s primary visual rather than physical effect. “Stretchable” nearly sounds like putty, but anyone who has seen deformable screen solutions knows that won’t be the case with this display. Perhaps a better description of the screen is that it can deform its surface somewhat to produce the appearance of bumps and elevated structures.
The flexible 13-inch OLED panel was spotted exhibiting a movie of flowing lava in a demonstration given by Samsung at Global Tech Korea 2021. Lava’s surface is far from flat and smooth, even more so than flowing water, and actuators beneath the panel “push” the screen upward or outward in locations where there should be elevated surfaces. This offers the image a realistic 3D appearance without the need for stereoscopic technologies.
While it’s likely that you’ll be able to touch the 3D bumps, it won’t be the primary purpose of this version of the screen. That said, it’s not hard to picture this type of flexible display eliminating the tactile and haptic feedback issues that plague on-screen keyboards. In the not-too-distant future, touch screens will be able to include bumps that correlate to keys, making it feel more natural to type on them than on today’s flat glass screens.