It's going to be interesting to see what applications come from this. The flexible displays I've seen are fun, but I haven't seen them in a setting where flexibility was a necessity rather than a nice gimmick. Yet I'm sure somebody will come up with a great idea once this technology is available.
I'm sure that engineers will find many applications for thin film batteries and displays. I can remember when people claimed the only application for PCs was to store recipes. We've found some new apps since then.
I agree, Rob. I have a feeling a few years from now they will be in the technology domain in products that we don't even give a second thought to as being out of the ordinary...kind of like the evolution of LED flashlights.
One idea did come to me while reading through the comments. I can see this used for tablets aimed at the kid's market. I never imagined that a $400 item could be popular for children. If you've ever watched two toddlers arguing over an ipad, you know what I mean.
Good point, Chuck. We're likely to be surprised by what shows up now that this flexible technology is becoming available. It didn't take long for applications to show up for the PC. Smart phones are another good example. Using the phone to make a call almost seems an afterthought for young users.
I agree, Nadine. Tiny kids take to tablets in a remarkable way. In a family, the kids take over the tablets in ways they never tried to do with desktops or laptops. Flexible computers will be perfect for kid applications.
I can remember reading about two potential plastic battery technologies more than a decade ago. I'm not talking about using plastic as an armature. There were two developments; one was more like a cap for charge storage; the other was like an organic plastic. I can also remember about film batteries which was more like plastic armature with the media deposited on the plastic film.
Yes, Chuck, just a few apps since then :) For flexible displays, the apps I see mentioned most often are watches and other wearable computers, medical devices, and signage. I think Nancy's right: once the tech is available, they will be all over the place and we'll wonder how we ever did without them.
Artificially created metamaterials are already appearing in niche applications like electronics, communications, and defense, says a new report from Lux Research. How quickly they become mainstream depends on cost-effective manufacturing methods, which will include additive manufacturing.
SpaceX has 3D printed and successfully hot-fired a SuperDraco engine chamber made of Inconel, a high-performance superalloy, using direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). The company's first 3D-printed rocket engine part, a main oxidizer valve body for the Falcon 9 rocket, launched in January and is now qualified on all Falcon 9 flights.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and MIT have 3D-printed a new class of metamaterials that are both exceptionally light and have exceptional strength and stiffness. The new metamaterials maintain a nearly constant stiffness per unit of mass density, over three orders of magnitude.
Smart composites that let the material's structural health be monitored automatically and continuously are getting closer to reality. R&D partners in an EU-sponsored project have demonstrated what they say is the first complete, miniaturized, fiber-optic sensor system entirely embedded inside a fiber-reinforced composite.
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