back to article LG unfurls flexible SEE-THROUGH 18-inch display

Not content with making the world’s biggest bendy OLED TV, LG has thrown a different curve entirely with its roll-up OLED display. The 18-inch flexible panel has a 1280 x 810 resolution and uses a film of high-performance plastic called polyimide to give it its flexibility. LG flexible display Outsmarting the bendy …

  1. Ralph B

    Patent This!

    That transparent display, set spinning at a fairly high speed on a turntable, could make an effective real-3D display technology.

    (Although you might get a whack on the nose if you lean in too far.)

    1. Horridbloke

      Re: Patent This!

      That's a nice idea but the screen would need a ridiculously high refresh/update speed.

    2. John H Woods Silver badge

      Re: Patent This!

      "Volumetric Displays" where a screen rotates (often illuminated by laser) already exist: I've seen one used for molecular model display. And I'm pretty sure I read about the concept last century.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Patent This!

        Holographic air-traffic-control display.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Patent This!

      [edit] Ah, or as said by above, it's already available. :) [/edit]

      It's been done. One exists already.

      An old school option is a spinning disk (or any surface) with a projector (or laser) pojecting your frames/pixels onto it. :)

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Patent This!

      This was mentioned in several SF stories of the 50s and 60s so all we now have to do is wait for the USPTO to give someone the patent - Apple maybe. Me cynical Shirley not :)

    5. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Patent This!

      How about instead of one spinning screen, have three (or more) transparent screens in front of each other with gaps between them, have the background on the rear screen the foreground on the front screen and everything else on the middle screen. No idea how to prepare a suitable image, I suspect they'd need some of those computer thingies to work out what's what.

      Not full blown 3D of course but would give an impression of depth and perspective without having to spin something up, mind you to make this work I think the screens need to be more transparent than these early iterations.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    What are the odds...


    Besides flexbility, transparency is set to be a major selling point

    That if this type of device were to take off then they'd spend most of their time pinned up against a black background and shown the same sort of crap that current devices do?

    1. Hollerith 1

      Re: What are the odds...

      I can imagine pretty eye-catching billboards set against a great horizon. If you could position one so that Manhattan was visible through it, and then have people apparently parkouring all over the skyscrapers? Of course, you'd have to keep changing the action or we'd get bored.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What are the odds...

        Like current displays can do if we just add a camera to them? Transparent displays are usually used in areas like transportation and security... not for TV viewing...

        Unless... [goes off to patent a 100% transparent display, transparent 100% of the time and invisible to consumers]

    2. Ole Juul

      Re: What are the odds...

      There's a real advantage to people who are dyslexic. Simply flip the display over and everything becomes readable again. No?

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Transparent screen? Silly idea...

    you have to dust behind it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Transparent screen? Silly idea...

      You think people will see through that marketing promise then?

  4. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    What about Folded Displays

    Would prefer a folded display, that way it can slip into a laptop case and be unfolded when required.

    1. stucs201

      Re: What about Folded Displays

      or the return of the flip-phone, but with the screen covering both halves.

    2. cyberdemon Silver badge

      Re: What about Folded Displays

      Actually if you ask me - the folded display will be the death of the roll-up display.

      Because too many plebs will try to fold them!

  5. Lallabalalla

    If I had a semi-transaprent display

    ... I'd be able to see the fugly radiator which my telly currently hides rather well.

    1. FartingHippo
      Paris Hilton

      Re: If I had a semi-transaprent display

      My brain had a little wobble when I read: "If I had a semi".

      I need to get out more :(

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      Re: Fit inside double glazing windows

      Not necessarily. All sorts of magic can be worked with polarising filters and the like. Arrange things right and the people outside would only see a white screen.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fit inside double glazing windows

      "Downside - the image would also be visible to those outside which might restrict viewing subjects a little."

      Not to much of a problem. As I walk around where I live there are houses where the TVs are so enormously mahoosive, I don't know if the inhabitants are breaching some kind of pubic broadcast law. I'm sure the sheep from across the valley are keeping up with events in Eastenders.

      1. VinceH

        Re: Fit inside double glazing windows

        "As I walk around where I live there are houses where the TVs are so enormously mahoosive, I don't know if the inhabitants are breaching some kind of pubic broadcast law."

        That might depend how old the pr0n is that they are watching.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Fit inside double glazing windows

      Or just turn them into roller blinds. Marty McFly would be very happy.

    4. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: Fit inside double glazing windows

      A triple-glaze first version could be called Windows 3.1.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does this one Spy on you too?

    I'll never buy LG again after the revelation below, its all too underhanded....

    You THINK you're watching your LG smart TV - but IT's WATCHING YOU, baby

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Does this one Spy on you too?

      Upvoted for Great Justice.

      1. Julian Taylor

        Re: Does this one Spy on you too?

        No, it's totally transparent in that respect.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "No, it's totally transparent in that respect"

          Good one Julian!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All hail LG, king of pointless gimmicks

    Unfortunately, for all the engineering prowess it probably requires to create a bendable, transparent display, I'd bet my lunch's money LG will have no idea of what to do with it – just like with the 3D display smartphones. Remember them? Thought so.

    Best case scenario, this will eventually make its big-time début in a "revolutionary" iThing.

    1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

      Re: All hail LG, king of pointless gimmicks

      Uses? Signage and advertising. This isn't a domestic technology.

      One application springs to mind immediately: in Continental Europe, a lot of advertising posters are attached to large-diameter pillars at street-corners (

      Think of the demand for a digital advertising screen that could wrap around these.

  9. breakfast Silver badge

    This will be convenient when we can have a useful size of screen rolled up in a pocket. I like to imagine that phones will be around the size of a pen and just roll out as needed.

    1. Sarev

      Rollable touchscreen

      I've been waiting a while for a roll-up touchscreen that can connect wirelessly to my phone. Leave the phone in my pocket and I can easily unroll the screen to do a bit of work (tablet style) then roll it back into its protective tube when I'm done. Nice.

      1. Eddy Ito

        Re: Rollable touchscreen

        The problem will be the rest of the device unless it all fits in the 'sticks' at the edge of the scroll.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "This will be convenient when we can have a useful size of screen rolled up in a pocket. "

      If anyone remembers TekWar from the 90s, this concept was used for "PDAs" in the series.

  10. OrientalHero

    See thru Haynes Manual Overlay

    Wow, this has been done in the game Hydrophobia where the main character unfurls from a stick a tablet sized see thru screen. She lines it up with some spaceship engine and gets working schematics that allow her to more quickly determine the parts that need repairing.

    If this comes out as a finished product, would it kill the nascent Augmented Reality tech companies using smart phones over your eyes? I suspect hands free would only survive in specific niches.

    1. msknight

      Re: See thru Haynes Manual Overlay

      Dr Who - "Oh! A Dalek. Now, how do I disarm one of these things. Hang on..." Retrieves flexible overlay and holds it between him and the dalek.... (finish this for yourselves)

      Firstly, they would have to fix Haynes. Mechanics call it "the book of lies" for a reason. "Simply undo the bolt shown in picture A..." ... half a day and much swearing later...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: See thru Haynes Manual Overlay

        The Haynes Bomb Disposal series.

        Fondly remembered by widows and orphans the world over

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: See thru Haynes Manual Overlay

      "If this comes out as a finished product, would it kill the nascent Augmented Reality tech companies using smart phones over your eyes? I suspect hands free would only survive in specific niches."

      The Google Glass form factor is far better for something you're working on because it leaves both hands free to actually do the work. A pen with a screen you could unroll would make a pretty good phone; but it might be better to project your screen in the long-term, as an unrollable screen would be quite the weak point.

  11. John 110

    Scrolly, scrolly...

    I thought that said Brolly... now there's a good idea for a flexible screen, the ability to work in the rain.

    Where's my car keys, I'm off down the patent office.

  12. msknight

    Great for mobile phones...

    ...people can text while walking and hopefully see the bottom of the lamp post, through the screen, before they bump in to it.

  13. ProperDave

    Patent troll in the making

    What puzzles me, and perhaps this is what the transparency technologists are already doing - is surely to get a transparent display, you just need a vanilla calculator-like monochrome LCD display behind your standard colour display?

    The monochrome one, if it has enough DPI, effectively creates a transparency layer that the colour layer renders over?

    I dunno if this would work, but that would be how I'd begin exploring the area. I highly doubt this is a novel idea, but if it is - I claim all patent rights! *runs for the hills*

  14. Mage Silver badge

    A phone like Earth Final Conflict

    I want my A4 display area pocket sized phone/tablet.

    With display NOT transparent at all, when on.

    Solar panel under the screen on a Tablet though?

    1. John LS

      Re: A phone like Earth Final Conflict

      Always wanted one of these, Redius almost got there.

  15. Moosh

    We need stretching screens. Worry about banal things like transparency later.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the real benefit is the robustness

    My kids both have ipads, both of which have suffered various scrapes and dings. If this screen is as flexible and hopefully power friendly as indicated (if using e-ink type technology) then it would be a must have accessory for any phone. No need to have a phone and an ipad, just one device and either a small screen built in, or a huge screen unfurled at a moments notice.

    There's definitely a market here, it just depends how power hungry it is, and how whether they can make it small enough to roll into something you can slip into your pocket.

  17. Maty

    Space saver ...

    Up the transparency a bit, and you've got a window by day, and a TV by night ...

  18. Old Used Programmer

    What I want is a roll up 19" 1280x1024 monitor. I could use at least half a dozen of them. Just a whole lot easier to move around, even compared to standard LCD monitors.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      19" 1280x1024


      Why not variable 1024 x 1520 to 2800 x 1520? for 19"? (Portrait, to 4:3 to Widescreen)

      My 12 year old 4:3 15" screen is 1600 x 1200. Why aim for such low resolution?

  19. G Mac

    Update for the Roman Sketch?

    Wise: 'Have you got the scrolls?’

    Morecambe: ‘No, I always walk like this.’

  20. Chris G


    I can see this being applied to things like the Borgle driverless car, what better thing for its occupants trapped in it in an hours long traffic jam than some targeted advertising goodness!

    A different ad in every window.

    1. Down not across

      Re: Borgmobile

      Or you some chavs using this instead tint film on their chavmobile to taunt the driver behind.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE. Re. Borgmobile

    Hmm. Wonder what would happen to the display long term?

    Aren't OLED screens very sensitive to UV with time, this was one of the big problems with early screens which could fade in a matter of weeks if the filter in front wasn't up to the job.

    1. cray74

      Re: RE. Re. Borgmobile

      Yep. Anyone slapping these on windows will want a good UV filter.

  22. Adam Foxton

    Really useful

    Years ago I had an old TFT screen (An LG, as it happens) and found I could remove the polarisers, backlights, etc to leave more or less just an LCD panel with a bunch of electronics connected to one edge.

    Which left me with a semi-transparent (we're talking at most 20% transmissive) panel that I blu-tacked to a window.

    When hooked up to my PC it meant I could see the weather forecast and see if I had any Outlook appointments or if it was safe to stay in bed. Nowadays it could be hooked up to a hugely increased number of services and data feeds.

    It had two problems, though:

    (1) Without a backlight it only worked during the day. As an emmissive tech this would be far better.

    (2) Anyone could see what was on the screen. Not a problem in a 10th floor flat, but it's none too practical in my new house...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really useful

      I have a monitor here that actually featured a removable back panel.

      The idea was you took the back off, and slapped it on an overhead projector for presentations. 1024x768 pixel resolution, and not bad clarity.

      Sadly, the proprietary cable that hooks it to the computer has a few broken conductors, and I'm not sure how to get it apart to repair it, but the monitor otherwise works, as does the computer it came with, even if I have to keep punching its MAC address into the PROM prompt every time I fire it up.

  23. smartypants

    Roll-away telly: yes please

    It's quite a bit of faff to setup a projector. And tellies are getting to be idiotically dominant in the living room now - a bit like 2001 with the big slab being stroked by apes. (We love doing this - I'm sure we're not alone!)

    So forget crappy old 3d. What will make me upgrade is a telly which rolls away when you're not using it. You could have a 'small' 50 inch one that spends its time behind a Chippendale cabinet, or a big one (fnarr) which unfurls from the ceiling and gives that cinema experience without a projector in sight.

    The transparent option is good too. Who hasn't wished they could turn their UPVC windows into a stunning vitine by Chagall or those frenchies who sorted out Chartres?

    (P.S. Seriously for a moment... If you've never heard of All Saints, Tudelely, Kent, it actually does have the most stunning array of windows by Chagall. Please visit! It is worth driving 100 miles or more to see:

  24. A Twig

    OLED wallpaper is one of the concepts floating around at the moment. Then you can have as big or small a screen on your wall as you want. When you aren't watching it it's either transparent so you see the colour behind, or you use it to change the colours of your living room at will.

  25. Psymon

    Transparent display for vehicle HUD

    I know there have already been several Heads-Up-Display solutions already, but none have so far been able to utilise the entire windscreen..

    It's still not up to scratch, UK law requires 70% transmittance - which also includes the glass.

    The other niggle, which I believe Google are working on, is lining up the display aspect with the drivers eyes. I think they use a facial recognition camera to determine the drivers eye-line so that the super-imposed imagery lines up with the real world on the other side of the glass.

    This raises the question of what the passenger will see. From the passengers perspective nothing will align, and could potentially cause motion sickness. This can be resolved using polarised filtering.

    Polarised screens already installed in top-end Range Rovers, so that the centre console screen displays a movie for the passenger, and the sat-nav for the driver.

    Once these issues have been resolved though, it would be a quantum leap in satnav technology. The direction, street names, and even what lane you should be in, all highlighted on the real world.

    Obviously, speed, rev and other displays can be moved up there too. HUDs improve drivers attention to the road, by reducing eye movement away from the road, which is why they were invented for fighter pilots in the first place

  26. Peter Ford

    I need one of these

    For my forthcoming patio doors - then I can watch the telly indoors, or move out onto the patio and watch it from outside too.

    Oh, hang on, it would be mirrored on the other side... bugger.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lack of size restrictions

    Apart from the fact that I would *love* have a bunch of those glass sheet screens that only seem to work in SF movies, it strikes me that the flexibility comes in more ways than one. There are fairly practical reasons why you have size limitations in fixed sheet screens, which are not present in the rollable stuff because you need to deal with bending and correct distances to make it rollable in the first place.

    This suggests that it ought to be possible to just make one screen that is 3 "traditional" screens wide, so no edges in between, and no need to have 3 separate driver cards to control it - just a roll with a support mechanism, which also makes it more portable. Making a screen wall ought to be easier too - instead of a 3 by 2 screen setup you'd just have one massive roll.

    I'm *definitely* interested if they're going down that route. Meanwhile, I'd like some of those glass sheet screens, please, just to tie me over :)

  28. Nasty Nick

    Role Up! Role Up! Bog Roll Role for Oligarchs Everywhere

    No need to take your telly to the bog - it can be there as your personal hi-tech disposable. The cardboard tube will need to be a bit stiffer - how about replacing that with a carbon fibre one.

    They'll have to give it a less slippy coating mind.

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