LG Debuts Stretchable, Bendable 12-inch MicroLED Display

November 9, 2022 by Dave Haynes

LG Display has debuted a small display made with a stretchable film and embedded with microLED light emitters – raising the ability to stretch, fold and twist the 12-inch screen without damaging the product or distorting the full color image.

Described by the company as a world’s first, the Stretchable display is positioned as the sort of technology that could be used for surfaces in homes, automobiles and aircraft, and perhaps for very expensive, ‘DO NOT PUT THIS IN THE DRYER!’ clothing.

The display has 20 percent stretchability, a resolution of 100ppi, and full-color RGB. Based on a highly resilient film-type substrate made of special silicon used in contact lenses,” says LG PR, “this 12-inch display boasts a rubber band-like flexibility that allows it to be stretched up to 14 inches. The display’s free-form nature offers a cutting-edge solution surpassing the existing foldable and rollable technology.”

In addition, the Stretchable display uses a micro-LED light source with a pixel pitch of less than 40μm, securing a high level of durability to withstand significant external impacts as well as a resolution that competes with most existing monitors. Unlike the conventional linear wired system, the Stretchable display’s flexible S-form spring wired system’s optimal structure can endure repetitive changes to its form, assuring consumers of its incredible durability and reliability.

Alongside its thin, lightweight design, the Stretchable display’s revolutionary technology offers next-level versatility for various daily scenarios. Easily attachable to curved surfaces such as skin, clothing, furniture, automobiles and aircraft, this unique innovation expands the potential of the display in various industries including fashion, wearables, mobility and gaming.

LG Display’s Stretchable display is the result of a large-scale national R&D project the company was selected to lead by South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) back in 2020. With the goal of propelling the country’s next-generation display industry, the company has since been working alongside twenty organizations in South Korea’s industrial-academic sector.

“We will successfully complete this project to enhance the competitiveness of Korean display technology, while continuing to lead the industry’s paradigm shift,” says Soo-young Yoon, Executive Vice President and CTO at LG Display.

Quite interesting, though it’s not immediately apparent how this might apply to digital signage or conventional pro AV jobs. It’s more likely, given what is presumably high unit costs down the road, to be the sort of thing that would be applied to the curved surfaces inside the cabin of a high-end Hyundai. The very finite crowd that bafflingly pays $4,500 for a Balenciaga handbag might happily pay $6,000 for one with a soft screen in it, but I don’t see a time when clothing or accessories would be mainstream in numbers or price, and the electronics would have to be a lot smaller than what’s shown with that PC gear and ribbon cable in the photo above.

Integrating this sort of thing into a vehicle that’s already $50,000, or a $250 million commercial jet, is a different matter entirely.

It’s likely obvious, but if not, this is very, very different from the other kinds of stretch displays marketed by LG and other display companies. Those are LCDs manufactured with extra wide aspect ratios, but the only thing stretched are the dimensions. They’re rigid.

Hard to speculate how these might be used, but it’s super interesting to see the possibilities of technology pushed like this.

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