Real wearable tech: researchers find a way to put OLED display panels on cloth

Real wearable tech: researchers find a way to put OLED display panels on cloth
Although manufacturers are looking for ways to create more smart device niches and build different wearable gadgets that sync to our phones and deliver information at a glance, there is still the limitation of a display panel to deal with. It requires some space, which adds its own bulk, and constrains the device's flexibility.

Of course, we are mostly talking about smartwatches, fitness trackers, or even smart glasses here. But what if displays can be imbued into fabric? Now that could unlock some crazy ideas, wouldn't it?

Well, a joint research performed by a Korean automotive and life commodity company Kolon Glotech Korean and a team from the research university KAIST, led by professor Chi Kyung-chul, has managed to OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) with a textile substrate.

What this means is that, given time, we could see actual displays embedded into clothing material — pretty exciting. Well, sure, Kanye West will probably custom-order a couple of unsightly suits using the technology, but aside from that — smart armbands, smart belts, smart sleeves, it all could become possible without looking too... ridiculous.

In order to achieve this task, the team had to first produce a type of fabric that did not have rough surfaces and didn't expand too much when heated up. It produced a special, flat type of textile, which looks like a glass board but has the flexible qualities of cloth. The OLEDs were formed over the material via a thermal deposition process.

Of course, the tech is still not ready for prime time, but the nearby future obviously holds some exciting stuff.

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