Bendable touchscreens promise to revolutionize the electronics industry, allowing inventors to design flexible gadgets for the future.
The XSense, created by hardware manufacturer Amtel, can bend and twist without losing screen resolution, thanks to its polyethylene terephthalate composition. Amtel, which builds components for Samsung, LG and Acer, says the XSense also features low power consumption, a lightweight design and enhanced noise immunity.
“XSense launches a new era of touch design, enabling our customers to redefine touch and to create a new class of products that were previously only imaginable,” said Amtel CEO Steve Laub.
Laub’s promotional video for the XSense suggests manufacturers can use it in curved or edgeless electronics like tablets, phones and even watches or coffee pots. Amtel already supplies major electronics makers, so the flexible screen could command lots of attention when it goes up for sale in the third quarter.
As the XSense prepares to take on the world, however, it will face competition from other bendable screens like the Kinetic, EPD and PaperPhone.
For example, LG’s recently announced electronic paper display, or EPD, may revolutionize the e-book market when it hits European stores this spring.
The 6-inch device is thin, lightweight and can bend 40 degrees from its center, allowing readers to adjust the screen to their comfort levels. It is also shatter- and scratch- resistant, and promises to cut eye fatigue and boasts low battery consumption.
LG’s creation challenges Nokia’s Kinetic prototype, another flexible screen unveiled last fall that lets users navigate and scroll through options by bending the phone in different directions.
The Kinetic joins the PaperPhone, which looks and bends like an identification badge and initiates phone calls when users curl a corner.
“This computer looks, feels and operates like a small sheet of interactive paper. This is the future. Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years,” predicted Roel Vertegaal, director of Canada’s Queen’s University Human Media Lab, which developed the prototype.
Vertegaal’s forecast may well come true, as scientists at the Laboratory of Nanoscale Electronics and Structures have already created a chip three times smaller than the current standard. This chip may soon power lightweight, bendable screens like the XSense, PaperPhone and the foldable Origami handset created by Chengyuan Wei.
As technology progresses, flexible screens seem poised to capture consumers’ imaginations with their novel spin on personal electronics.