News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Rolling Out Flexible Displays


Current flat panel displays depends on rigid silicon-on-glass backplanes to drive pixel components. Rolltronics Corporation has introduced a new technology they trademarked under the name “FASwitch” that promises wallscreen televisions and flexible displays in the near future. The company “prints out” flexible backplanes like a printing press prints out a newspaper. The materials are cheaper, more environmentally friendly, and can be made in larger form factors than existing processes. In fact, Rolltronics envisions thin wallpaper-like panels that can be tiled on a wall to create gigantic televisions, at an affordable price.

This technology will likely be used first in coming electronic ink products. These devices will bring the superior resolution of ink on paper to digital displays and may finally usher in the age of digital books. Rolltronics is currently looking for partners and licensees to begin making use of their new technology.

Rolltronics has spun off a separate company, VoltaFlex, that plans to use the same Roll-to-Roll (R2R) processing technology to create thin, flexible, and rechargeable batteries. Both companies hope to bring R2R processing to the manufacturing of components that currently require much more expensive and complex processes to produce.

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