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Bend me, shape me: Flexible phones
Can you roll a telephone up, drop it, squish it in your backpack or step on it – without any damage? Researchers are working on just such handsets – razor-thin, paper-like and bendable. Numerous companies are working on the technology – LG, Philips, Sharp, Sony and Nokia among them – although reports suggest that South Korean phone manufacturer Samsung will be the first to deliver. Morph is one of the bendable prototypes Nokia has been working on. Samsung favours smartphones with so-called flexible OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) technology, and is confident that they will be “very popular among consumers worldwide”. Their screens will be foldable, rollable, wearable and more, [and] will allow for a high degree of durability through their use of a plastic substrate that is thinner, lighter and more flexible than conventional LCD technology.
There are other technologies that could make a smartphone bendy. E-ink is an innovation developed by a US company of the same name. The screens are black and white, and work by reflecting natural light instead of glowing themselves, mimicking the way text looks in paper books. There are about 30 million flexible e-ink displays in the field today. They are well-suited for simple phones, memory and battery indicators, smart credit cards, wristwatches, and signs. To have a fully flexible finished product, both parts of the display have to be flexible – the optical frontplane and backplane, where transistors are – as well as the device`s battery, the outer shell, the touchscreen and other components.
South Korean film LG Displays has just begun mass-producing fully flexible e-ink screens. Another company working with E-Ink is UK firm Plastic Logic. It uses the US firm`s optical frontplane but adds on its own backplane made out of non-rigid plastics, and then sells the part to device-makers. In 2012, Plastic Logic demonstrated a paper-like flexible screen capable of playing video in colour, which is achieved by placing a filter on top of the original black-and-white display.
Some other researchers are taking a different approach. Prof Andrea Ferrari from Cambridge University works on future bendy displays using graphene. The material was first produced in 2004 by two Russian-born scientists at the University of Manchester.
Graphene is a sheet of carbon just one atom thick – yet it is stronger than diamond, transparent, lightweight, has great conducting properties – and is flexible. Researchers believe that graphene may in future replace silicon and revolutionize electronics as we know it.
Whatever the technology, it seems certain that very soon our phones will be not just smart, but bendy too.
11. Скажите, какое из утверждений соответствует содержанию текста:
1. South Korean firm LG Display has just begun mass-producing fully flexible e-ink screens.
2. To have a fully flexible finished product, both parts of the display have to be flexible – the optical frontplane and the backplane.
3. Samsung is really quite advanced in this field.
4. Graphene is stronger than diamond and has great conducting properties.
5. E-ink is an innovation developed by a US company of the same name.