updated 05:35 pm EST, Tue February 24, 2009
Flexible touchscreen LCD
Arizona State University's Flexible Display Center (FDC), along with its military and industry partners, are laying claim to producing the first active-matrix display with a flexible touchscreen. The device uses an active-matrix electrophoretic display tech from E-Ink Corp. along with materials from DuPont Teijin Films for the flexible touchscreen instead of the typical glass used in today's touchscreens. Using a solid glass touchscreen panel defeats the purpose of a flexible display as the package cannot be folded without incurring damage.
Three elements make up the flexible touchscreen display: E-Ink's Visplex display, the plastic backplane and the touchscreen. All three parties involved collaborated on integrating the touchscreen display into the device. Like in E Ink's current products, the device only draws current when content is being changed, not once it is displayed. Users can write on the display and store their content or erase it.
The new display paves the way for larger applications, such as in interactive e-newspapers that save paper while bringing lots of information to users and allow them to be folded up for carrying and storage. The touchscreen display will be used in military applications at first, lightening soldiers' burdens by slimming heavy battery packs. The display is much thinner than current glass touchscreens and will be rugged to withstand battlefield environments.
FDC estimates consumer applications of the flexible touchscreens are 18 months away.