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Samsung’s New Stretchable OLED Could be a Boon for Health and Fitness Tech

Samsung's stretchable OLED display prototype being used as a heart rate monitor

Samsung is known for its stellar displays, including its curved monitors, but now it’s venturing into stretchable OLEDs. The new prototype display can be stretched in any direction and applied directly to skin, just like you would with a Band-Aid.

The researchers who created the OLED prototype—which has been dubbed a “skin-like health care patch” or a free-form display—determined that it can be stretched as much as 30 percent while still displaying information and operating as normal. It’s meant to feel just like your skin rather than a bulky medical device. As proof of concept, Samsung’s engineers added the display to a stretchable heart rate monitor and stuck it to the skin like a Band-Aid. Though it’s just one application, it’s quite promising.

Samsung’s Youngjun Yun said in a press statement, “The strength of this technology is that it allows you to measure your biometric data for a longer period without having to remove the solution when you sleep or exercise, since the patch feels like part of your skin. You can also check your biometric data right away on the screen without having to transfer it to an external device.”

Early tests showed that the device continued working as normal even after being stretched 1,000 times. The Band-Aid heart rate monitor design allows the sensor to sit flush with the patient’s skin, plus it picked up a signal 2.4 stronger than current existing sensors.

The display itself is constructed from elastomer, a flexible material that allows for movement like stretching. It has been specially treated to resist the heat from the integrated electronics, and features a unique grid-like “island” structure. Each island has an individual OLED pixel, and the elastomers are each connected to flexible electrodes. Yun shared that “The spaces and wiring electrodes between the pixels to stretch and shrink without the OLED pixels themselves becoming deformed.”

Close-up of the OLED display

The tech is still in its nascent phase of development, but as you could imagine, it has a delightfully wide array of possibilities for both the health and fitness tech industries. It could be adapted and used for fitness wearables, and perhaps even smartphones or other devices in the future. Yun even suggests that “The technology can also be expanded to use in wearable healthcare products for adults, children and infants, as well as patients with certain diseases.”

via The Verge

Suzanne Humphries Suzanne Humphries
Suzanne Humphries was a Commerce Editor for Review Geek. She has over seven years of experience across multiple publications researching and testing products, as well as writing and editing news, reviews, and how-to articles covering software, hardware, entertainment, networking, electronics, gaming, apps, security, finance, and small business. Read Full Bio »