Electronics manufacturer Polyera has just rolled out the first flexible display product that offers weather forecasts, headlines, e-mail and just about anything else a smart watch offers.
Ten years in the making, the Wove Band features a flexible display that can either be flat or wrap around a wrist. It’s all based on Polyera Digital Fabric Technology, which the company bills as a set of materials, tools, and knowledge designed to make possible the production of flexible electronics at scale.
“Over the past decade, Polyera has been conducting deep R&D on the physics and chemistry of electronics, which has allowed us to enable the manufacturing of disruptive components, such as truly flexible displays,” Phil Inagaki, founder and CEO of Polyera, said in a blog post. “In recent years, we further expanded our capabilities to solve the engineering and design challenges around incorporating such novel components into products which would provide new and meaningful experiences to users.”
Is This a Breakthrough?
Polyera seems to be solving a persistent problem in this breakthrough arena. The company said that most attempts to manufacture flexible displays have relied on traditional electronics materials, such as silicon, being deposited on plastic substrates. That may be why it hasn’t worked.
Although using traditional materials allows electronics makers to develop products with fixed curved screens, they are so brittle that it’s nearly impossible to use them in flexible products. Polyera takes a totally different approach with its Digital Fabric Technology and proprietary electronic materials that allow for bona fide flexible displays that can be manufactured in traditional display fabrication plants without massive investments. The company even paves the way to integrate the flexible displays into products with its engineering and design solutions.
“Wove is a device with an active-matrix display which can literally change shapes in the user’s hands, a dream which has existed for a long time but was never previously possible,” Inagaki said, noting that over 100 Polyera scientists, engineers and designers have collaborated on the Wove Band.
Will Developers Rally?
The Wove Band will have several unique characteristics, including a flexible, low-power touch display that combines Polyera Digital Fabric Technology with E Ink's reflective electronic ink film. E Ink's film is already used in millions of displays.
The display of the Wove Band is large and always-on and will consume less power than smart watches with far smaller displays, according to the company. Polyera is working with flexible OLED displays, flexible sensors and flexible logic circuits. This technology sets the stage for all kinds of creative, flexible electronics devices.
Developer units will start shipping in December to a small group, with the company hoping an app ecosystem will grow around it. The commercial launch of Wove Band is set for mid-2016.
Posted: 2015-08-29 @ 6:31pm PT
Posted: 2015-08-17 @ 5:23pm PT
This is revolutionary. Amazing.