Want a display that can take any shape? You might not need a factory to cut it for you in the future — you may only need a pair of scissors and a steady hand. Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science has developed a flexible, organic/metal hybrid polymer display that you can cut without wrecking it. The technology only needs a few seconds of power to adjust to its new shape, and it even maintains its last information when you switch it off, a lot like e-paper.
The existing design only displays in one color and has a limited display area. It’s easy to see the practical purposes even now, though. You could make your own clothes with integrated displays, or craft smart wearables that fit the exact shape of your wrist. The researchers also envision a world where you could change the colors of car interiors, sunglasses and windows thanks to displays that fit just about anything. Any such breakthrough is undoubtedly years away, but the very fact that it’s a possibility is noteworthy.