HP to bring indestructible plastic displays and Memristor storage to market

Flexible displays with ultra efficient storage on course for 2014 rollout.

Imagine having an ultra-thin, lightweight tablet with a flexible and almost indestructible plastic display. Combine this with high-capacity storage and all day battery life and this will give you an idea on what HP is working on.

Specifically, it's the job of the HP Labs. There are multiple divisions dotted around the world stretching from China to the USA, with over 500 researchers. The Labs were originally set up in 1966 by HP founders, William Hewlett and Dave Packard, and have spawned creations ranging from the pocket calculator to inkjet printers.

John Apostolopoulos, director of mobile and immersive experience lab provided an insight into what the researchers are working on at the firm's Global Influencer Summit in Shanghai last week.

Its innovations include ultra-thin plastics displays, which are stronger, more flexible and cheaper than their glass counterparts.

"Today, displays are still relatively thick, fragile, heavy and flat. We can make them thinner, lighter, robust, low cost using our Self Aligned Imprint Lithography (SAIL) process," he told attendees.

"We believe we can make them [flexible plastic displays] as affordable as you can make flat displays."

Plastic display

The SAIL process involves unravelling a roll of plastic on an assembly line and imprinting thin film transistor onto it. This process is not too dissimilar to the traditional printing press and the continuous production makes it more cost effective than sheet-to-sheet batch production.

HP Plastic display prototype

The plastic displays will be used to make everything from foldable displays to wallpaper

The aim is to create tablets, e-books, magazines, and curved/foldable displays. The process will even allow for the creation of wallpaper and devices that can be worn on the wrist.

"It's very thin, very light and virtually indestructible. If I wore it on my arm and [it] was hit, it wouldn't break. It would just flex," he added.

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