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Photos: The amazing world of OLED

Hanging out at the CES Digital Experience, we encountered a stand packed with funky experimental OLED displays. If OLED carries on like this, it's going to get plenty of love in years to come

Ian Morris

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OLED is more popular than moaning about the economy at the moment, with the likes of Sony and Samsung splurging their R&D money on the TV tech. It's certainly come a long way since last we saw it at CES 2008 -- while we were chowing down on a tasty free burger at this year's CES, we stumbled upon a smorgasbord of new OLED deliciousness.

From screens that are incredibly thin or use tiny amounts of electricity, to wearable and bendy screens, the OLED stand at the Digital Experience had us very excited.

There was a 3D display which, although only very small, enabled us to see three glorious dimensions without any stupid eye-wear. It had impressive depth and the image quality was surprisingly good. Perhaps this will be included in the mobile phones of tomorrow.

Because OLED requires no backlighting, making a semi-transparent display was no problem at all. We can see this sort of technology being applied to car windscreens, to give a proper heads-up display. You can see the display in action in a short video we shot.

Although OLED is a niche product at the moment, it's still one that captures our imagination. We can't wait for TVs so light they can be hung on a picture hook, or screens that are partially transparent. Click through our gallery for a glimpse of the future of home entertainment.

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Photos of 3D displays always work about as well as a chocolate teapot, but trust us when we say that this was excellent.
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This panel has a 1,024x600-pixel resolution, and more colour than a rainbow. It really looked utterly stunning.
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You can see how amazingly thin the bezel is on the OLED screens here. This, combined with the amazing colour and brightness is what was drawing people to this stand like flies to a particularly fruity turd.
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Viewed side-on, you can still see the image in delightful clarity. If we hadn't seen moving images, we'd have honestly thought they'd glued a photo to the frame.
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When you see the how amazingly thin the panel is, you start to understand that this technology could revolutionise TVs. Imagine a TV that's so thin and light, you can hand it like a picture, on a single hook.
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At first glance, this OLED doesn't look especially remarkable...
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...but with the right kind of input, it's transparent! OLED doesn't need a backlight, so having a transparent screen is as simple as not having something behind the panel. This could be fantastic for in-car use as a heads-up GPS system.
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OLED can also be flexible. This concept puts that ability to good use.
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The idea is the screen can be folded in two, to save space.
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And when it's shut, you can see what the intended application for it could be. Imagine reading a book, or watching TV on something like this while you commute into work.
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These panels are bendable, making them ideal for wearable displays. If you use your imagination, you can see a paratrooper crawling around a dark forest with one of these on his wrist.
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Here you can see the OLED panel that runs the whole thing. Although the model shown is bent into one position, these flexible displays are sturdy enough to be bent thousands of times.

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