The next innovation in smartphones could be folding smartphones and they could be equipped with artificial muscles. Roel Vertegaal, a computer scientist at Queen’s University in Ontario predicts the invention of smartphones that are like books, where you could flip it open to turn the pages.
Vertegaal tested hundreds of screens and found one that was built for folding. It’s a high-definition light-emitting diode screen from LG. The biggest challenge is powering all the pixels on the screen after repeated bending. Some of the solutions include:
- Using printed electronics to integrate razor-thin circuits and flattened antennas
- Injection molding
Samsung and LG have produced bendable screens. Last year, LG revealed an OLED screen that’s less than 1 mm thick and rolls up like a newspaper. Samsung developed artificial muscles for smartphones that push and pull components into new locations while opening and closing it. The new design would be appealing to consumers, according to a mobile analyst at IHS Markit:
Having that bimodality in a device would, I think, be really game changing. You’re not only creating a new form factor for the phone, but you’re also cannibalizing other product categories.
A foldable smartphone would be the second form of the smartphone, which is currently rectangular.
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