Samsung’s Galaxy Fold Jumped the Gun on 3 Fundamental Problems

So what will it take to roll up our phones like a piece of paper?

Samsung's Galaxy Fold Jumped the Gun on 3 Fundamental Problems
Samsung's Galaxy Fold Jumped the Gun on 3 Fundamental Problems

Imagine the day when you’ll unroll or unfold your smartphone to answer it. If things go to plan, this day may be sooner than you think.

And we’re not just talking flip-phones here, but smartphones where the actual screens are flexible, not just the handset.

Okay, so Samsung’s plans to launch its Galaxy Fold phone might be on hold after a few early reviews reported cracks in the screen, but 2019 is said to be a year when many of the major mobile phone manufacturers aim to release their new foldable phones.

The promise of technology as intelligent as our smartphones that can simply be folded up like a piece of paper sounds amazing. So what are the challenges in making flexible technology?

How Flexible?

To answer this, we need to understand what is meant by flexible.

Do we need something that can be deformed without breaking (so it’s okay if you sit on your phone, as it will only bend and not break)? Maybe we want to roll it up into a cylinder with the ease of rolling a piece of paper? Or even to fold it like the Galaxy Fold?

smartphone cracked glass
The cracked glass of a smartphone. Sitting on the device is the usual cause.

These are very different scenarios, with each putting a greater performance requirement on the device and the materials within.

Are the materials brittle? Or are they inherently flexible? And when they are bent, rolled, flexed, or folded, do they continue to work the way they did when flat?

These are the questions many scientists and engineers are asking. Enter the world of materials science, mixed with a dose of advanced manufacturing. More

By Drew Evans https://www.inverse.com