Flat Screen Technology Heats Up – Part I

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The race to create ever thinner, more durable, and even flexible flat screen technology has really been heating up in the last year.  Most applications thus far are for e-book readers, but what we really want to see are screens that are so robust and thin that they can transform the human experience by being embedded in clothing, furniture, and even the human skin.

If you haven’t heard about them yet, you should check out Plastic Logic, a new entrant in the field with an impressive looking new e-reader set to come out later in 2009 or early in 2010.   We’re doubtful this product will be the “Kindle killer” many are claiming (making a good e-reader is about more than a good screen), but at 8.5 x 11 inches and with the thickness of a standard paper notepad this product sure is cool.  New Scientist has a good article describing the technology.  Check out these images from Endgadget.

From New Scientist:

Plastic Logic says it has now perfected a way of printing polymer transistors onto a layer of bendy plastic – allowing the screens to flex and bounce. “Screen breakage is the number one complaint with today’s e-reader technology. Our display can take a lot of rough and tumble,” says Joe Eschbach of Plastic Logic.

To produce the transistors, the company prints a droplet of conducting polymer and a surfactant onto the plastic substrate. The surfactant makes the droplet water-repellent, so when a second droplet of polymer – without surfactant – is dropped on top of the first, it slides off and lands next to it, ending up precisely 60 nanometres away because of the size of the droplets. This close proximity is important for producing transistors with fast display switching speeds.

Below is a some video that demos the technology from Plastic Logic:

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