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Pliable Personal Computers

Video Screens are Completely Freeform Courtesy of Flexible OLEDs

— November 1, 2011 — Art & Design
Imagine, for a moment, a 32-inch television that was so thin and malleable that one could roll it into a scroll and carry it in an overcoat pocket -- simple anecdotes aside, this is the promise of flexible OLEDs.

OLEDs are light-emitting diodes composed of organic compounds which, when exposed to the appropriate electrical currents, produce colored light. Because these diodes are so energy-efficient, researchers at the University of Toronto have sought to expand their usefulness with new and innovative applications. Normally, LEDs are printed on thick, restrictive glass panes that are eventually installed into televisions and simple monitors. Flexible OLEDs, on the other hand, are produced on pliable plastics that can be installed next to anywhere! Diodes installed in your wallpaper would defy the need for light fixtures; OLEDs could turn your pulpy newspaper into an e-reader; TVs could bend and conform to pressure for better mobility. It may seem like the world of tomorrow, but PhD candidate Michael Helander exclaims that we're only four to five years away!
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