Here’s what the next evolution of OLED displays could be, and it’s interesting

Our smartphone screens are now mainly OLED, offering high contrast, high brightness, HDR and impressive viewing angles, not to mention their bendability, and one wonders what the next step in their evolution will be. The answer may surprise us and lead to unexpected innovations.

Source: Onur Binay at Unsplash

The idea of ​​haptic touchscreens is not new. Apple has already explored this technology with the Doctus concept, initially planned for iPads and iPhones. However, this finding has not yet been widely accepted.

A group of researchers from Future Interfaces Group Currently working on an OLED display made of blown segments. Their goal is to simulate haptic keys and buttons on flat touchscreens by stretching individual parts of the panel up to five millimeters.

Create a clickable screen

A video released by Future Interface shows a prototype of the new haptic technology. It is an OLED screen divided into several matrices (30 in total), in which each element can be controlled by a microcontroller and thanks to small pumps located under the flexible layer.

These pumps work on the principle of electroosmosis, which uses an external electric field to propel charged particles of a liquid. Positively charged particles are attracted to negatively charged solids in the liquid, making them easier to collect.

The haptic screen is divided into three separate sections, which are composed of several individual layers: the reservoir layer, the pump layer, and the output layer. The research team also demonstrated how the prototype works by adding a flexible OLED display. Using the haptic matrix, various GUI elements such as icons and buttons can be animated by moving them up and down. Unpressurized components can also pop out and retract after being pressed. This is sufficient to create dynamic, millimeter-scale tactile properties. For example, it will allow you to create a “physical” keyboard on a flat screen.

It remains to be seen whether these inflatable haptic touchscreens will be adopted by major manufacturers. However, this innovation promises to provide a much deeper user experience and could revolutionize our interactions with touch devices, our smartphones, our PCs, our tablets… and why not our interfaces in our cars.

In fact, a real ergonomic effort is constantly being made in cars to simplify cockpits, reduce the number of buttons and focus on screens that can be updated remotely. Thanks to this technology, it is possible to combine the advantages of both approaches: the security offered by physical buttons and the versatility of touchscreens.

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