The Rollable Flex is an interesting new flexible screen from Samsung Display that can be rolled out from just 49mm to 254.4mm, more than five times its length. The display will be shown at the annual Display Week trade show in Los Angeles alongside another Samsung panel that the company says offers fingerprint and blood pressure sensing in the OLED panel without the need for a separate module.
Aside from the maximum and minimum length, details about the Rollable Flex in Samsung Display’s press release are relatively thin, and it’s unclear what the overall size or resolution might be. The company says the panel rolls out on an “O-shaped axis like a scroll,” allowing it to “turn a hard-to-carry big screen into a portable form factor.”
The Sensor OLED display, meanwhile, looks like it could have interesting implications for future smartphones. For starters, unlike the built-in fingerprint sensors used in most modern phones, the Sensor OLED display can “recognize fingerprints anywhere on the screen”. That would theoretically make it much faster and easier to unlock a phone with your fingerprint.
But perhaps even more interesting is the ability to measure one’s “heart rate, blood pressure, and stress level” with the fingers. The technology works by reading the light off the OLED screen as the reflection changes due to the “contraction and relaxation of the blood vessels in the finger”. Samsung Display’s press release shows it works with one finger, but also mentions reading this information from two fingers simultaneously for a more accurate blood pressure reading across both arms.
All of this functionality is built right into the OLED display itself, without the need for a separate module like most modern fingerprint sensors. It’s unclear how accurate these measurements might be, how long the process takes, or if they could be taken while a fingerprint is used for authentication. But the Sensor OLED display opens up some interesting possibilities for future smartphones that could potentially offer health features normally found on smartwatches.
Samsung Display doesn’t directly manufacture consumer devices, so it’s up to other companies or Samsung divisions to buy these screens and turn them into real products. But announcements like this are an interesting indication of the kind of devices that will be possible in the coming years.