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Thin Displays as Wristbands


The U.S. Army is testing a prototype "watch" that's lightweight and thin and has a full-color display. This display is built on flexible materials encased in a rugged plastic case and can be worn on a wristband to display streaming video and other information. It uses newly developed phosphorescent materials that are efficient at converting electricity into red, blue, and green light, which means the display needs less power to work.

Most phones, laptops, and TVs today use liquid-crystal displays (LCDs) controlled by electronics built on glass. To make more energy-efficient displays that are controlled by flexible electronics, which are lightweight and won't shatter like glass, many companies are turning to organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs). The pixels in OLED displays replace the layers of electronics and filters in LCDs with organic dye molecules that emit light in response to electrical current.

For consumers, flexible OLEDs promise portable electronics with beautiful screens that don't drain battery life and won't shatter when dropped. But so far, no companies have developed economically viable manufacturing methods for producing flexible OLEDs with long enough lifetimes and consistent quality. The U.S. military has been funding development with the aim of providing soldiers with rugged, thin communications devices that can display maps and video without adding too much weight to their load.

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