Flex Electronics is A Glimpse Into the Future
Updated: Jan 28, 2019
Just a few weeks ago, Samsung introduced the world to a prototype of its flex phone. About 2 years ago, LG introduced the rollable TV. Flexible electronics of all sorts are coming, and what do they all have in common? They all use flex PCBs.
Samsung's Flex phone presentation (from Engadget)
Flex PCBs are not a new thing for those of us in the PCB industry, but with the innovations coming from two of the biggest manufacturers in the world, flex PCBs is the next big thing. Imagine a world where every cellphone can become a tablet at will, where screens will bend but not break, and screens no longer shatter.
For TVs, LG is still able to utilize the technology to offer a paper-thin TV that can appear or disappear at will:
LG's Rollable OLED TV (from Digital Trends)
Sci-fi books, TV shows, and movies have always shown flexible electronics as the future, and we're starting to realize that future. Like how sci-fi paved the way for cellphones, sci-fi is showing us how our electronics will continue to evolve, with our cellphones morphing into tablets and mini-laptops for better productivity.
The only thing that's missing now is for a refined product to gauge consumer demand. Sci-fi books, TV shows, and movies have always shown what the future could be--that's how cell phones came to be, and they're ubiquitous now. Sci-fi shows have shown how useful expandable but still pocket-sized electronics can be, making our phones into tablets or mini-laptops that are much better for productivity.
Companies around the world will either start developing their own flex electronics or wait for Samsung and LG to prove that the technology has sufficiently matured along with demand. Either way, flex PCBs and flex electronics is entering the mainstream and we're all excited to see where it leads.