It's Almost Time to Roll Up Your E-Reader and Put it in Your Pocket

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
June 6 2014 2:58 PM

It's Almost Time to Roll Up Your E-Reader and Put it in Your Pocket

Okay, yeah, that looks pretty cool.

Photo from Nikkei Technology.

There's been buzz about folding screens for years, but it seems like the technology is finally moving closer to reaching the mainstream. At a display tech conference in San Diego this week, Nokia and the Semiconductor Energy Lab's Advanced Film Device group presented two new screens that look pretty bendy.

The first type is a folio style that folds in half like a book, and the second is a tri-fold design. Both are basic HD 5.9-inch organic light-emitting diode screens. OLED is the tech of choice for folding screens because it uses thin, organic films that light up from electrical current and can be made from flexible materials.


The screens are made by putting a release layer, sealing layer, color filter layer, and OLED layer together on a glass backing so they bond, and then removing the glass and replacing it with a more flexible structural layer. The folds in the screens can get down to a radius of between 2 and milimeters, and you can bend the screens about 100,000 times before they wear out. A flexible Kindle made of this stuff might not last a lifetime, but you could certainly tote it around in your pocket for a few years.

A book-style half bend.

Photo from Nikkei Technology.

The full fold.

Photo from Nikkei Technology.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.



Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

Even When They Go to College, the Poor Sometimes Stay Poor

Here’s Just How Far a Southern Woman May Have to Drive to Get an Abortion

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?


Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Oct. 20 2014 6:49 PM God’s Oligarch One of Vladimir Putin’s favorite businessmen wants to start an Orthodox Christian Fox News and return Russia to its glorious czarist past.
Oct. 20 2014 6:48 PM Apple: Still Enormously Profitable
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 6:32 PM Taylor Swift’s Pro-Gay “Welcome to New York” Takes Her Further Than Ever From Nashville 
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.