By Chris Gray-GarciaOctober 31, 2008
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 31, 2008) -- The U.S. Army is two to three years from field testing communication devices with flexible display screens, said the director of the Flexible Display Center at Arizona University, Dr. Gregory Raupp, in an interview with online journalists Tuesday.
The Army established the Flexible Display Center to advance flexible display technology research and speed the commercialization of flexible display screens for use in Soldier equipment.
"We're to the point now where we can see that commercialization of flexible displays will happen shortly," said Raupp. "We like to think of this as the dawn of the flexible display age."
"We recognize that flexible display technology is a new capability that will not only make the things we do now better, but will enable us to give the Soldiers information in ways we cannot do at the moment," said Dr. David Morton, of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.
Devices with flexible displays will likely consume one one-hundredth the power of a comparably-sized LCD-screen device, said Morton, but will weigh less and be more durable.
"The technologies we look at reduce the power, reduce the weight and provide better capability in almost all environments," Morton said.
"One of the concepts we're investigating is having a flexible wrist display," said Morton. "Something that uses very little power, fits on the Soldier's arm, and can provide him a map of where he is, where his friends are, where he needs to go, where the enemy is, perhaps update him with specific instructions on something, like how to enter a building. If he has it on his wrist and bangs it into a wall or he's crawling on the ground, it will not break."
Flexible displays will not only benefit Soldiers, however, but will present tremendous opportunities in industry as well, said Raupp.
"Product designers are going to get a tremendous design freedom from the fact that they're no longer stuck with a fragile glass rectangular display," said Raupp. "They'll be able to put a display on any surface or a free-standing surface that could be unrolled."
"What we will be able to do with the technology is only limited by what you can think of," Raupp said.