Samsung has shown a prototype of a stretchable OLED screen. That display is used in a kind of wearable, which is used as a heart rate monitor. According to Samsung, the screen of this heart rate monitor can be stretched up to 30 percent without performance reductions.
According to Samsung researchers, the wearable used offers heart rate measurements with a “high degree of sensitivity” compared to current wearable sensors, the company claims in a press release. That’s because the stretchable sensor adheres better to the skin, limiting performance degradations that can be caused by movement.
Samsung has made the screen of elastomer, a flexible material. The elastomer used has been treated by Samsung to withstand the heat generated by the integrated electronics. To relieve strain-induced stress, the researchers used a grid-like ‘island’ structure with OLED pixels.
Image: Samsung / SAIT
“The power of this technology is that you can measure your biometric data over a longer period of time without having to remove the sensor when you sleep or exercise, because the patch feels like a part of your skin,” a researcher wrote in the press release. Samsung. “You can also view your biometric data right on the screen, without having to transfer it to an external device.”
During tests of the stretchable OLED screen, researchers at the Samsung Institute of Technology attached stretchable PPG heart rate sensors and OLED screens to the soon-to-be wrist, close to the coronary artery. During the investigation it would have been confirmed, among other things, that the movements of the wrist did not cause any loss of quality of the material. The heart rate sensor would remain reliable at stretches of up to 30 percent. According to the researchers, the sensor and OLED screen also continued to work stably after being stretched a thousand times. Researchers from Samsung’s research institute have published an extensive research report in ScienceAdvances.
Samsung writes that the technology for full ‘free-form’ screens is still in its infancy, but the company reports that a lot of research has already been done on stretchable OLED displays, which can be stretched in all directions. This prototype is an example of that. It will be some time before stretchy OLED screens end up in products that actually appear on the market, although that is the goal.
The first use cases for these stretchable OLED screens would for now focus mainly on comparable health devices, rather than for use in consumer electronics or Samsung Galaxy wearables. That is because the screens used are still quite primitive, with only a small number of pixels. “In addition to the heart rate sensor used in this test, we plan to integrate stretchable sensors and high-resolution ‘free-form’ displays to allow users to monitor things like oxygen saturation, electromyography and blood pressure.”
Image: Samsung / SAIT