There are researches and slow developments towards flexible displays. There are talks and rumors on mobile companies producing foldable smart phones. The smartphone which is as thin as a sheet of paper that could be foldable may not have many advantages as it’s still simply a device that needs to hold by hand or fixed to screen.
A perfectly foldable smart screen could be used as smart wrist band with every points of the device including strap acting as a display and touch sensible.
The flexible displays which are made of Nano or Pico or tinier electronics, thin as a sheet and semitransparent is what I imagine as ones that could become integral part of our body and surrounding.
Imagine a transparent glove over your right hand palm which has all features as we have in the smart phone now that you can do video chat, texting and calling. You need not carry the smart device; you would only wear it as comfortable and light gloves. The gloves made of functional electronics and touch screens in Nano or Pico or even tinier forms in every bit of it. We could able to do touches required over the palm (as like touch sensitive smart phones) by using same palm finger or using the fingers for the other hand.
Advantages of this over the smart phone we have now is that it is easy to handle and you need not carry it. Imagine you get such comfortable gloves with all features of audio, video, GPS, internet and apps that available in the most modern smart phone available today. The gloves you can we are always and forget that you are we are a device and it becomes integral part of your body and life. Would anyone say no to it?
The challenge would be that we would need to make everything from battery, chips and board into a thin transparent and very flexible film. It may able to happen over the years. Since we are still not having technology developed for totally flexible displays, having a normal transparent hand gloves which could fold, shrink, expand and also do video calling could be something to wait for some decades to come. We could see starting point for this device in the form of smart wrist bands which would require lesser flexibility than gloves.
The smart gloves could even be integrated with temperature, chemical and health sensing capabilities. It monitors temperature around you and have recording of all things happening around you if you need it. When you touch a food it says if there is a vegetable with substances of pesticides or if any chemical/oil harmful in general or specific to your health and, tests the purity of water that you going to drink. When you are in condition to get heart attack, it informs doctors, relatives and people nearby you. It automatically keeps contacting people till someone comes and helps you.
You can see a patent on such smart gloves being published by June, 2016 which details some ideas given here. Samsung and Google also registered patent for smart gloves whose functionality could be related to augmented-reality but not as described above.
Smart room screen + dividers
Now TV’s and tablets are getting larger, at least before end of this century, I imagine our flats constructed with only pillars and horizontal structures, the vertical walls could be replaced by smart room screen. The thick transparent fold able sheet with strong inbuilt materials could acts as room divider. Imagine a single bedroom with 3 sides or a curved sheet permanently hooked and the other side with scrollable sheet as door. These sheets made of materials and features as similar to smart gloves.
They can be made as transparent, opaque, mirror and one-way glass when needed. We could see updates on friends and video calls pleasantly populating in the walls. It act as a big screen like TV we would like to see when we are in home. The theme designs of the wall could be selected and it could be made opaque in time we need like during sleep. We can make it semi-transparent in the morning to let the sun light in the room and to say good morning to others in the house.
With evolution of technology and needs of people, the smart devices which we use today could transform to be wearable devices and part of our buildings where we live and work.
The smart gloves and room dividers could be applications of flexible displays in future when they start to exist. There could be enormous application of smart gloves which could analyze things we touch and be integral built in tool in human hands.
In the meantime, if you have any suggestions that would make this topic more interesting, or you would like to ask something, feel free to leave a comment or a question in the comment section below.