Polyera Vision has upgraded, or recreated rather, the slap bracelets from our childhood (if you're an 80's or 90's kid) into some seriously hip flexible displays. Called the Wove Band, the “rollable wearable” device has been in the making for ten years, and according to the company, still has a few finishing touches until its mid-2016 release.
According to Slash Gear, getting something so thin to be resilient enough for daily use was always the challenge, so it's no wonder the world had to wait a decade for the Wove Band to be born. Success in creating an actual flexible display depended on Polyera's very own Digital Fabric Technology. According to the company's website, “most attempts to make flexible displays have relied on depositing traditional electronic materials, such as silicon, on plastics substrates...allowing the creation of products with displays in a fixed curve”. However, the electronics were too brittle to sustain flexibility, and ended up not being suitable. Instead, Polyera used its own method to come up with truly flexible displays that were, at the same time, sturdy and strong. The easier component of the Wove Band, its E-Ink display, is made up of thin-film transistors (TFTs), which are low-energy (actually consuming less than smartwatches with smaller displays), large, and always-on (Information Week).
The bracelet, like other smart wearables out there, is capable of displaying anything from Twitter notifications, news, weather, and data. It can be worn wrapped around the wrist or used flat, but I'd hope most would take advantage of the blood, sweat, and tears (a.k.a. science, engineering, and design) Polyera put into its Digital Fabric Technology. The display is made up of two planes, the frontplane, or visual level where you see what's on the screen, and the backplane, which is an array of TFTs that act as energy savers by deciding which pixels in the frontplane are on and off at any given time.
Said to stand as a proof of concept for others to follow, the Wove band is currently up for pre-order this week for those interested. It is expected to become a commercially available product by mid-2016. I don't know if this will carry on to be a slap bracelet-wearing trend or not, as folks are already into smartwaches that sport a curved display (especially LG and Apple). I bet it's more about the company patenting their unique technology. CEO Phil Inagaki, who founded Polyera, says they are also working on other flexible electronic components, like OLEDs, sensors, and logic circuits. Let's hope Polyera can sustain their innovative state of mind in a land where the very territorial Apple and LG tend to reign.
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