Researchers in South Korea have created an OLED display that can be worn like clothing. The technology was announced last week by research teams from KAIST, a South Korean university, and materials manufacturer Kolon Glotech.
Flexible OLED displays have been developed previously (like the LG panel pictured above), but they have historically been limited by their durability. OLED displays are easily torn and, as fabrics are rough and tend to increase in size when they heat up, ensuring they remain unimpaired is difficult.
The researchers from KAIST and Kolon Glotech have discovered a way to avoid these problems with durability with their new technology, however, which sees the OLED display attached to a glass-like material that retains the flexibility of fabrics.
“Textile OLEDs which are more flexible than plastic and has high device reliability are expected to contribute to the development of comfortable wearable displays,” said professor Choi Kyung-chul, who led the KAIST team.
The OLEDs manufactured through this process have lifespans of more than 1,000 hours when in use, or 3,500 hours when they’re idle. For comparison, modern OLED TV panels are said to have a 60,000 – 70,000-hour lifespan.
Business Korea, who reported the story, didn’t provide any indication of when or if the technology would be used for commercial purposes.