Samsung develops a stretchable OLED display
Credit: Samsung

Flexible displays which are used in folding smartphones these days are one of the breakthroughs in display technology and making a step ahead in that technology Samsung has created a “stretchable OLED display” that can be stretched in all directions like rubber bands to change their shapes and can even tell fitness tracking information to its users (sounds something straight out of a sci-fi movie right?).

Samsung reported on Sunday that its researchers at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) have developed a stretchable OLED display that has an integrated photoplethysmography (PPG) sensor and is able “to measure as well as display the user’s heart rate in real-time.” Samsung calls this device the “stretchable electronic skin form factor.”

Further, SAIT researchers attached this “stretchable electronic skin” to the inner wrist near the radial artery. Which allowed them to confirm that “wrist movement did not cause any deterioration to the display.” And during the test, this stretchable OLED display remained reliable with skin elongation of up to 30% also confirming that it can continue to work stably even after being stretched 1,000 times.

  • Samsung develops a stretchable OLED display
  • Samsung develops a stretchable OLED display

For a more interesting part of the study, the researcher found that the sensor picked up “a heartbeat signal that was 2.4 times stronger than would be picked up by a fixed silicon sensor.”

Now to make this all happen, the team at SAIT modified the composition and structure of elastomer (a polymer compound with excellent elasticity and resilience) and used existing semiconductor manufacturing processes to apply it to the substrates of stretchable OLED displays and optical blood-flow sensors. As per Samsung this “stretchable electronic skin form factor” is the first of its kind in the industry.

“The strength of this technology is that it allows you to measure your biometric data for a longer period without having to remove the solution when you sleep or exercise since the patch feels like part of your skin. You can also check your biometric data right away on the screen without having to transfer it to an external device,” explained principal researcher Youngjun Yun.

“The technology can also be expanded to use in wearable healthcare products for adults, children, and infants, as well as patients with certain diseases.”

After getting positive results from this study, Samsung’s research says even its stretchable OLED display prototype – “stretchable electronic skin – is in the early stages but they aim to “commercialize these stretchable devices by increasing system resolution, stretchability, and measurement accuracy to a level that makes mass production possible.”

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