EMERGING DISPLAY TECHNOLOGIES
FOR ORGANIC USER INTERFACES
The display as a rigid, rectangular matrix is giving way to more fluid
notions: thin, flexible, tactile surfaces customized to form and space.
BY ELISE CO AND NIKITA PASHENKOV
Television screens and computer monitors are so ubiquitous in our daily lives
that the notion of a “display” is almost inevitably linked to something rigid
and rectangular. However, even as technology moves toward smaller and more
portable devices, there is also a strong and growing interest in the physical,
tangible reality of the things we interact with.
Here, we explore emerging display technologies, emphasizing their application in
flexible and deformable devices that potentially take on any shape or form. In each case,
the most important factor is how the technology is (or might be) adapted to integrate
with an existing flexible substrate (such as a solid sheet of plastic or woven fabric). In
this sense, the field of flexible displays is as much a matter of process innovation and
materials research as it is a question of electrical or computer engineering.
Sometimes hailed as a successor to LCD technology, organic light-emitting diode
(OLED) displays are based on organic polymer molecules that compose emissive and
conductive layers of the display structure composited together through a form of printing. The layers are deposited in rows and columns that result in a matrix of pixels that