Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Life is Flexible – new flexible display concepts


Cambridge, UK & San Francisco, CA – 6 June 2006 – Five exciting new product concepts from Plastic Logic will be on show at SID this year with the theme that “Life is Flexible”. They all incorporate Plastic Logic’s radical new flexible display technology. The lightweight, user-friendly natural designs illustrate the inevitable transformation we will see in everyday products as a result of plastic electronics over the next decade.

Developed as part of a “Future Mapping Project” with the Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, sixty Product Design students from all over the world set out to brainstorm how flexible displays will change our lives by 2010. Central Saint Martins is a world renowned institution that has refined the creative talents of many inspirational artists and designers, including retailer & restaurateur Terence Conran, industrial designer James Dyson and film director Mike Leigh.

The results were stunning, with applications in entertainment, work, education, health, transport and fashion. Each concept highlighted a different desirable feature of flexible displays – thin, light, robust and more - and also addressed a real world use case.

Life is Flexible: prize winning Plastic Logic flexible displays by students at Central Saint Martins. First prize won by Turnover (centre). Other prize winners (clockwise from right) were Smartbook, Emulate, Snapmed, Flexinfo and Digital Music Score. High resolution images available at
www.plasticlogic.com/lifeisflexible.php.

Ten designs from an initial sixty were chosen to progress to the final stage. The distinguished judging panel included Hermann Hauser (Founder of Amadeus Capital and the UK’s leading high tech venture capitalist), Guy Kewney (NewsWireless Editor), Nick Hampshire (Founder, AFAICS Research), Tony Chambers (Creative Director of Wallpaper* Magazine), Stuart Evans (CEO Plastic Logic) and Simon Jones (VP Business Development Plastic Logic).

Commenting on the winning designs, venture capitalist Hermann Hauser said “These designs are wonderful and can easily turn into exciting world class products. I can’t wait to get one for myself.” The prize winning product concepts were:

1. Turnover is an innovative e-reader that won first prize. It uses two traditional aspects of reading – turning the page and folding the corner – to exploit the physical capabilities of flexible displays, while humanizing the experience of reading an electronic book or newspaper. The screen that is rotated to the back refreshes the next page during the turning action, thereby stimulating a whole book or magazine with only two pages. According to designer Timothy Yeoh, “Turnover is two pages with infinite possibilities – you can lose yourself in any number of worlds.” Touch the on button for a few seconds to bring up the book select menu and use the scroll wheel to select the book or quickly skip to the desired page. Touchscreen capability lets you bend the corner to toggle bookmarks on or off, with a bookmark symbol on the page for easy reference when scrolling through.

2. SmartBook is an easy-to-hold e-book with a touch sensitive quadrant scroll bar for one-handed navigation. Selecting the enlarge button, the scroll can be used to adjust the size of the font. With bistable display effects and robust, unbreakable backplanes, part of the display is always visible even when the device is shut so you can always see top level information. Designer – Coria Mok.

3. Emulate is a leather-covered e-reader the size of a bill fold or wallet. Its slim ergonomic design fits easily into a pocket or handbag and is ideal for reading email. Flexible padded edges adapt to being in your pocket and – like other leather goods – it acquires a patina over time so users form an emotional attachment to the product. Designer – Ben Forman.

4. Snapmed is an updateable display and storage device for the next generation of medical patient tagging. It quickly and accurately displays key patient information and medication details. A sprung steel wrist band is the mechanism to make it snap onto the patient’s wrist quickly and securely. Designer – James King.

5. Flexinfo uses flexible display technology to provide up to date travel information on your season ticket where and when you need it. It shows the latest timetable with upcoming departure and arrival times, and also warns you about delays or cancellations. It updates everytime it is used and is a direct replacement for current season tickets. Its attractive display has the potential to be used for advertising and other offers. Designer – Edward Vince.

6. Digital Music Score (DMS) uses flexible display technology to make life easier for musicians, whether amateur or professional. Music scores are downloaded into the DMS and displayed on full sized pages, just like familiar printed music scores. Designed to fit onto conventional music stands, the musician isn’t distracted by having to turn from page to page by hand. They keep their hands on the instruments while playing, so they can concentrate on achieving peak performance. It can even be rolled up into a scroll for storage. The DMS also contains teaching and reference material to help players enhance their musical skills and knowledge. Designer – Akiko Iba.


The project has confirmed that flexible displays and plastic electronics will make their mark in our not-too-distant future, enabling completely new product categories and driving technology innovation in all markets.

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