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Curve appeal: Meet the smartphone that bends!

NEED TO KNOW
  • This week's 5 most fantastic innovations and ideas!
  • Flexible screens may transform phones -- and fashion
  • Also this week: The first metal gun made by a 3D printer
Curve appeal: Meet the smartphone that bends!

Editor's Note: Karyn Lu is Turner Broadcasting's manager of New Media Insights & Inspiration. Each week, she scouts out amazing innovations, cutting-edge technology and, well, just really awesome stuff. Before it goes mainstream, it's going to be one of her 5 Things From The Future!

What’s the next innovation slated for screen technology, now that screens are so ubiquitous? The new trend appears to be flexibility. As in: bendable, foldable, even rollable screens that WORK.

And they’re already here.

In fact, companies such as Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have been showing off flexible displays for quite a while at electronics shows. Earlier this fall, within weeks of one another, both Samsung and LG released curved-screen smartphones in the South Korean market.

Now add to this mix Japanese company Semiconductor Energy Laboratory (SEL), which has developed a high-resolution screen so flexible that it can be rolled to a 4-millimeter radius.

This is possible due to the development of highly flexible OLED displays and high PPI LCD panels that use CAAC oxide semiconductors... which is a lot of technical terms to say: Check out the video below to see a screen that seamlessly spills over and wraps around the edges of various devices:

What’s more –- in addition to making screens flexible, SEL’s technology enables even batteries to be bendable. And that bit of practicality opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

Think about it: Bendable screens are more comfortable, more lightweight and that much tougher to crack. Imagine mobile and wearable devices that can be wrapped around our wrists. Or digital fabrics that wrap around our bodies. Or digital maps that can be rolled up like parchment.

As for what follows, I’ll be excited to see how the fashion world, among other sectors, adopts this technology. The intersection of fashion and technology has always been an incredibly innovative space. Take 3D printed fashion, for instance. Or dancing holographs at Fashion Week. Or the Twitter dress.

Chances are, we haven’t already started wearing our computers yet just because hard screens are so darn uncomfortable. But now that screens are bendy, are form-fitting digital outfits and accessories right around the corner?

Wrap your mind around that one, then take a look at the rest of this week's amazing Things From the Future!

Better than the horn or the bird: Rear window decals sync with your emotions to let other drivers know exactly how you're feeling.

Instagram, in real life: No phone required, as artist places pre-filtered frames around London.

Today's craft project: A DIY gun? What exactly have we wrought? 3D printers can now make metal guns.

Gift keeps giving: Don't toss your old greeting cards -- turn them into wildflowers!

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