Foldable displays are gaining ground in the smartphone market, but there is a related technology – stretchable displays – that is emerging. LG Display demonstrated a 12” panel that can be stretched to 14” and released back to 12” without damaging it.
This type of bendy, stretchy display (or “free-form” display as LG calls it) can be used in clothing and furniture as it can easily conform to complex shapes and the ability to stretch will make it more comfortable to wear (or sit on – its construction is quite durable).
LG Display foresees uses in various industries including “fashion, wearables, mobility and gaming”. It can even find a place in the automobile and aircraft industry as well.
The display is pretty high quality as far as prototype panels go – at 100ppi it has pixel density similar to that of a 40” 4K TV. And it has full-color RGB capabilities. The display is built on a special silicon substrate that is also used for contact lenses. It features micro-LEDs (smaller than 40µm) that are connected via S-shaped springs instead of straight wires so that they can stretch 20% without breaking.
We’ve seen stretchable display prototypes before – like this one from Royole from last year. It could stretch 30% and according to the company the technology can hit 120ppi, but the demo unit was a small 2.7” panel with 96 x 60px resolution. A few years ago Samsung demoed a stretchable display in 2017, though that one was mostly able to survive deformation (e.g. pressing hard down on the flexible display) rather than stretch to a new size (the 9.1” panel could stretch around half an inch).