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Kodak demos underwater flexible OLEDs

Kodak demos underwater flexible OLEDs

Kodak's flexible, waterproof, glowing fish-impersonating OLED display has clearly wowed Town Playmobil.

Okay, so we might be waiting a while until OLED displays become "as inexpensive as printing newspapers," but how do you fancy a flexible display that operates underwater?

That's exactly what the boffins at Kodak have been working on, opening the door for rain-resistant gadgets and an e-book reader you'll feel comfortable using in the bath. As shown over on Maximum PC, the demonstration shows the curvable display submerged in a jar of water - and held in place by clips with what appear to be hippopotamuses on them, because Kodak engineers are just that awesome - with giant, glowing fish entertaining a small crowd of Playmobil figures - again, because Kodak engineers are awesome.

While the technology is currently limited to a single colour - although in a variety of brightnesses, giving the impression of differing shades for more detailed images - the company believes that its robust technology could solve many of the issues that plague OLED use outdoors, such as its apparent sensitivity to moisture. Whether this will actually lead to more rugged portable devices or just annoying animated advertising remains to be seen, although Kodak believes that the glowing screen could "have broad applications in the lighting industry."

While the world might not be quite ready for a giant, eerily glowing representation of a fish in their nearest body of water, it's certainly interesting to see continued innovation in the field of OLED displays. With Sony having already started work on flexible screens - and, we are assured, not purely to make a joke about squeezing Beyonce - Kodak's ruggedisation process could well be the next step into making a truly portable device that can be used and stored pretty much anywhere.

Can you think of uses for a flexible OLED display that operates underwater, or do you just want a gadget that you don't have to hide every time it rains? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

8 Comments

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Dave Lister 3rd September 2009, 15:50 Quote
I'm sure manufacturers of diving equipment could put the technology to good use for oxygen readouts and communication ect.
pistol_pete 3rd September 2009, 17:53 Quote
How long before we see one of those in a mod here on bit-tech? :D
Matticus 3rd September 2009, 18:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by pistol_pete
How long before we see one of those in a mod here on bit-tech? :D

Hell yes. Digital temp display sitting inside a res.

Pretty cool tech, still whenever I see something that is kind of useless other than for the sake of making it. I always feel that effort could have been put in elsewhere.
Yemerich 3rd September 2009, 22:46 Quote
That's amazing!

I didn't knew there were still playmobils arround....

OOooo, and nice display too :D
abbeybrooke01 4th September 2009, 00:41 Quote
hi Excellent! Thanks for your posting.
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dec 4th September 2009, 03:03 Quote
id like to see OLED tatoo's....and the OLED cream to remove them. In 5 years my ceiling can be my TV.....awesome
proxess 4th September 2009, 06:47 Quote
In 5 years I can have a swimming pool with a screen at the bottom!
mricks 4th September 2009, 13:44 Quote
Hi - this is Michele Ricks from Kodak's OLED Systems division. Thank you so much for the great story about our technology - we engineers just LOVE being referred to as "awesome." Kodak people have a special love for OLEDs, since our scientists invented the technology in the late 70s.

We are really excited to be working on flexible OLED tecnhology. We can envision a future with so many unique applications. One of the key challenges to bringing flexible OLEDs to the market is encapsulation, to prevent moisture damage. Kodak's OLED R&D team is developing new encapsulation technology to work with flexible OLED's. While we are not specifically investigating or targeting any underwater applications at this time, the team thought it would be interesting (and fun) to conduct our "Fish Tank" test.

Oh, and before I forget - these displays are capable of many colors and even full-color video. This was just an early effort and green is relatively simple to make :) Stay tuned for more developments at www.kodak.com/go/display and http://michelericks.pluggedin.kodak.com/rss.asp?id=DC7F07BA-A91E-408A-B9C3-CF63CC4D865C.
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