How LG's roll-up screen could change everything

What does LG's 'rollable' display mean to the future of TV?
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How LG's roll-up screen could change everything

Roll-up, roll-up

In May last year, LG announced a roll-up screen that could potentially turn the television game on its head. Now LG has arrived at CES 2016 with the working screen, letting the general public get a good look at the new tech.

The display, which is made using an OLED panel, measures in at 18-inches, has a 1,200 x 800 resolution, and can be rolled up to a radius of 1.2-inches (without affecting the picture quality).

Currently it can only be rolled in one direction, can’t be rolled any tighter than stated above, and can’t be folded - kind of like a thick poster. So, although the technology is very much in its infancy, it’s not hard to see how it could change the way we use televisions, eReaders, tablets and even smartphones.

Challenging normality

LG’s confident that it will be able to produce larger more flexible versions of the panel in the near future, going as far to say that a 60-inch 4K TV – that’s both flexible and transparent -isn’t out of reach by 2017.

But what does this mean for the future? For one, shipping costs would be chopped as large, heavy boxes would no longer be necessary. Lifting a sizeable telly onto its stand would no longer be a two-man job, and our living rooms might all of a sudden become a lot sparser, without a dominating box in the corner or mounted on the wall.

One of LG’s displays is transparent, which will undoubtedly open doors to head-up displays (also known as HUD). A screen could be mounted on your car’s windscreen to show route options and traffic updates that you would otherwise have to take your eyes off the road to find out about.

With the help of cameras and sensors mounted on the front of the car, a HUD could alert drivers to rapidly slowing traffic or upcoming road closures. This kind of technology would all go hand-in-hand with the highly anticipated self-driving cars.

The image below is from BMWBlog, touting a HUD that would be beamed onto your windscreen by a projector.

This is the sort of thing that would be possible with a flexible, transparent display – the difference being that you wouldn’t need to buy an expensive car to enjoy the benefits. You could take your roll-up display with you, attach it to any car’s dashboard, and enjoy a safe, well-informed drive.

A fresh take on virtual reality

The capability of flexible and ‘rollable’ screen technology is endless. Right now, you can buy headsets that transport you into virtual worlds, and we’ve tried a few out. They offer a truly refreshing experience that is far and away more immersive than playing a video game on a flat screen.

But, here’s some food for thought. What if you were surrounded by 360-degrees of screens – like a giant hamster ball? The spherical screen could take you anywhere on the planet, from a desolate and unforgiving artic tundra, to the rolling hills of a northern Italy. You could be encased in a completely new world - taking VR to the next level once again.

If it were in fact a giant hamster ball, you would be able to move around in it, taking your surroundings with you. It would be a very refreshing take on Google Maps’ Street View, that’s for sure.

Of course, finding somewhere to keep a human-sized hamster ball could cause a few problems. I’m sure the future people will figure something out.

How this technology will fit into the mobile world is still to be answered. Showing a moving image on something that can be rolled up may be impressive, but adding speakers, cameras and the ability to call people is the next obvious hurdle. We’ve had a think about it though…

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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