HP Labs is developing a prototype for a flexible screen that could be used in products from computers to smart phones to e-books. The company says the technology should be available for military use in about two years and for private use shortly thereafter.
The screen is made using a technology HP calls self-aligned imprint lithography, or SAIL. Traditionally, the circuits behind a screen are produced using a batch process, where a group of displays-in-the-making move together from machine to machine. Instead, SAIL uses a faster roll-to-roll process, where a continuous sheet of flexible material is fed into one end of the machinery and a processed product rolls out the other end, like in a newspaper press. For more detail on the how the flexible screen is made, see this recent Future Tech article.
Pictured here is close to what the final product will look like; this particular model includes a 24-by-38 grid of one-square-millimeter pixels. The sample image is displayed by E ink technology and controlled and powered by HP's prototype device, which lies underneath. Production of that back panel is pictured in the following