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Samsung Invents Stretchy ‘Skin’ Display

Credit: Unsplash

It’s as close as we’re getting to having a watch built into our arms.

As both a nerd and a proponent of the medical sciences, I’m always on board for inventions that narrow the distance between mankind and machinery. I wanna be a cyborg by the time I’m fifty, let’s get on with it already. One such idea would be a wearable display that can show you your body’s vitals at any given time. I’m sure you’re thinking, “you mean like a smartwatch?” No, not like a smartwatch. More like a second layer of skin.

Korean tech giant Samsung has cut their teeth on folding displays with their phones, but their latest development takes “flexible displays” to a whole new level. Their invention is a stretchy electronic “skin” that can be stretched and adhered over someone’s arm to display their current heartrate. According to the engineers behind this project, this display’s readings are much more accurate than those taken with a smartwatch, and the device lasts much longer without needing any kind of recharge.

Unlike the flexible displays you’d find on a smartphone, the electronic skin is made of elastomer, a proprietary material that’s both super stretchy and super tough. The engineers ran tests on the display, stretching it and distorting it over a thousand times, and still the display worked just fine. Even subtle movements of the wrist that would otherwise mess up the readings on a smartwatch were no problem for the display to overcome.

This tech is still in prototype phases; the next orders of business are to improve the display’s resolution and tweak the tracking accuracy further. Samsung hopes that this will be the first step in large flexible displays, particularly for use in medical technology. Who knows, maybe this electronic skin could be used to make a real-life Samsung Sam. I know at least one of you out there would be into that.