Samsung Electronics has created a wearable with a flexible screen that can be stretched 1,000 times its actual length and still display accurate measurements. It’s a stretchable organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display that sticks to the skin and monitors vital signs such as heart rate and blood flow.
According to research published in the journal Science Advances, the company said is R&D unit Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology successfully merged a stretchable OLED display with a photoplethysmography sensor into a single device to measure and display the user’s pulse rate in real-time.
Most fixed-form devices are prone to breaking down or falling apart when subjected to a great deal of physical force. To address this technical challenge, the researchers employed elastomer, an innovative material with high elasticity and resilience, to replace the plastic substance used in existing flexible displays. They then changed its molecular composition to improve its heat resistance and reduce elongation stress, allowing them to include a semiconductor into their device.
The device gives more accurate measurements than conventional wearables over an extended period. According to Samsung Electronics, an electronic skin with an integrated stretchable sensor and display was put on the inside of the wrist and performed reliably even after being stretched 1,000 times. Compared to a fixed silicon sensor, it was able to detect a heartbeat signal that was 2.4 times stronger. During their tests, they discovered that even when the gadget was extended by up to 30%, wrist movement had no effect on performance.
The team claims to have successfully proved that stretchable devices can be fitted with health-tracking sensors and semiconductors by making the elastomer more resistant to chemicals and heat. The research, according to Samsung, is the first of its type to show that a commercial free-form gadget, which is more sophisticated than flexible displays, is possible.