Samsung shows off stretchable OLED screen in prototype heart rate monitor

This is just a concept for now, although an interesting one

We’ve had curved displays for a while, but what about stretchy ones? Samsung says it is making progress construction screens “that can be stretched in all directions like a rubber band,” and that the first application for this material may be in the creation of flexible health technology.

The company’s researchers have recently created an OLED display that can be magnified up to 30 percent while working normally. As a proof of concept, engineers integrated this display into a stretchable heart rate monitor that can be affixed to the skin like a Band-Aid.

Samsung’s Youngjun Yoon said of the prototype, “The strength of this technology is that it allows you to measure your biometric data over a longer period of time, removing the solution while you sleep or exercise, as the patch Feels like part of your skin.” technology in press statement. “You can also view your biometric data instantly on the screen without having to transfer it to an external device.”

The display is basic, with clear pixels, but it can be expanded up to 30 percent.
Image: Samsung / SAIT

Samsung engineers say the display is rudimentary, but it worked normally after 1,000 stretches. The design of the heart rate monitor, while sitting flush to the patient’s skin, allows it to pick up a signal 2.4 times stronger than a typical sensor.

Although the technology is only in the early stages of development, Samsung suggests it could be used to support an array of health-monitoring systems in the future. “The technology could also be expanded to be used in wearable health care products for adults, children and infants, as well as patients with certain diseases,” says Yoon.

research details are given published in the journal science advance.

The display works because of a grid-like “island” structure with rigid islands and more flexible channels.
Image: Samsung / SAIT

The performance can be enhanced as it is made from a specially designed flexible material called an elastomer. This elastomer has been treated by Samsung engineers to resist the heat of the integrated electronics and has a special grid-like “island” structure.

The islands of the elastomer are implanted with individual OLED pixels and are tighter than the surrounding channels, while flexible electrodes are used to conduct electricity. This bipartite structure “allows the spaces between the pixels and the wiring electrodes to stretch and shrink without the OLED pixels,” says Yoon.

Don’t expect to see a new stretchable Samsung Galaxy anytime soon (though the concept would fit well with anyone’s theories) expansion of the universe), because screens manufactured with this technology are so basic that they cannot be used for anything other than a simple monitor. But in the future, technology like this could create wearable gadgets that are less stiff and more comfortable.

If you’re interested in reading more about the science behind stretchable screens, IEEE Spectrum One good report on the topic since last year.

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