Rubbery gadgets to start with flexible display

New technique promises stretchy electronics before long

Bendy person

We've seen foldable electronics and even some simple displays in the past but none as sophisticated as a new technique that promises completely rubberised circuitry.

Takao Someya of Tokyo University has combined OLEDs with organic transistors and a rubbery conductor to open the door to screens, computers and other devices that can be moulded to fit any shape.

Rubber paste

His first prototype is a stretchable display that can be spread over a curved surface or crumpled into a ball while still functioning perfectly.

The screen is made by combining the components into a rubber paste using a high-pressure jet to spread them evenly throughout the material.

Fake skin

The result is a material that can be printed into whatever shape is required, yet which remains flexible when the device is formed.

Looking ahead, Someya's technique could be used anywhere stretchable wiring is useful, including in artificial skin with sensors built in or lifelike humanoid robots.