Super-thin, bendable LCDs are coming

We have seen curved plasmas, OLED TVs and LCDs in the past, both as prototypes and actual products. And while many people believe OLED screens and not LCDs or plasmas are the future, a Japanese consortium of 13 companies and institutions is working hard on developing super-thin, flexible LCDs. The companies claim they now have found a way to produce these LCDs by using plastic film instead of glass substrates.

Japan’s Technology Research Association for Advanced Display Materials, one of the members of the consortium (others include Sharp and Hitachi), says that theoretically, using multiple layers of plastic film for displaying colors can be an alternative to using glass substrates but that positioning the layers is a complicated process.

The association says its new high-precision production technique combines color filters with other types of thin film. Apparently, the production method requires fewer processes, meaning producers need less equipment. In addition, the association claims, carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by a whopping 75% and energy consumption can be slashed by 70% when switching to the new production technique.

The consortium presented a bendable 3.5-inch LCD that’s just 0.49mm thick and weighs 7g as a first milestone (my apologies for the small picture – it’s the only one available at this point). The prototype can display a color image whose quality drops when the screen is bent. But an advanced version is expected to be ready by 2012, with the consortium hoping to use the technology to mass-produce thin, curved LCD screens in the future.

Via The Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]