5 Future Technologies We Want Right Now!!!


On an episode of the alien invasion show V earlier this season, the V princess Lisa gives her human boyfriend Tyler a present—a metal tube with a scroll inside. Except what Tyler pulls out isn’t paper, but a rolled video screen.

Being able to bend or roll up a screen solves every portable gadget screen size problem: You wouldn’t need to decide whether you had enough room for your phone or tablet on your way out the door. You could just roll out as much display space as you needed.

Like many highly desired future technologies, the basics of flexible screens have been known for years. In February 2008, an offshoot company of Phillips called Polymer Vision debuted a prototype eReader called Readius, which had a diagonal rolling screen which used an electrophoretic front plane over an organic thin film transistor backplane. Even with its 5-inch screen, the Readius measured just 2.2 inches wide, 3.9 inches tall, and 0.8 inches deep and weighed just 4 ounces. It never went on sale, however.

Since then, LG has shown off a 19-inch flexible E Ink display for yet-to-be-determined devices, and at CES 2011 Samsung demonstrated a 4.5-inch, 800 x 480-pixel flexible AMOLED screen that curved rather than rolled. Neither company provided an actual timetable for rolling out these displays, which made the products just seem like some especially cool vaporware.

More practical work on bendable displays is being done at the Flexible Display Center at Arizona State University under Nicholas Colaneri, with funding from the U.S. Army. Considering all the armor and gear a modern soldier has to wear and carry in combat, a laptop with a light, flexible, and unbreakable screen is highly desirable.

Making a thin film for display, as LG and Samsung have demonstrated, isn’t the problem—it’s the “substrate,” what the liquid crystals are set on, which needs to be plastic, or thin stainless steel. We’re talking about creating a new class of flexible ancillary electronics, including transistors, power, and other circuitry.

For consumer applications, Colaneri expects larger screens before smaller ones simply because there’s more interest in compressing size. Expect to see flexible screens on portable gadgets—perhaps in the next three to five years.

5 Future Technologies We Want Right Now!!!

Email* (will not be published)
*Indicates required field
Submit Comments

  1. Freda Citro Says:

    I had problems along with your web site on my browser reading 5 Future Technologies We Want Right Now!!! and had to refresh the page a couple of times, I’m using an older version of Firefox. I enjoyed the articles and comments and can be back!

All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options