Samsung Display demos long rollable and a health-sensing OLED

The Rollable Flex is an interesting new flexible screen from Samsung Display that can be unrolled from just 49mm to 254.4mm, over five times its length. The display is being shown off at the annual Display Week trade show in Los Angeles alongside another Samsung panel that the company says offers fingerprint and blood pressure sensing in the OLED panel without the need for a separate module.

Aside from its maximum and minimum lengths, details on the Rollable Flex in Samsung Display’s press release are relatively slim, and it’s unclear what its overall size or resolution might be. The company says the panel unrolls on an “O-shaped axis like a scroll,” allowing it to “turn a difficult-to-carry large-sized display into a portable form factor.” 

The Sensor OLED Display, meanwhile, looks like it could have interesting implications for future smartphones. For starters, unlike the in-display fingerprint sensors used in most modern phones, the Sensor OLED Display “can recognize fingerprints anywhere on the screen.” That would theoretically make it far quicker and easier to unlock a phone using your fingerprint.

The Sensor OLED Display reporting a person’s blood pressure and heartrate based on readings from their finger.Image: Samsung Display

But perhaps more interesting is its ability to measure a person’s “heart rate, blood pressure and stress level” from fingers. The technology works by reading the OLED screen’s light as its reflection changes due to the “contraction and relaxation of the blood vessels inside the finger.” Samsung Display’s press release shows it working with a single finger, but also mentions reading this information from two fingers simultaneously for a more accurate blood pressure measurement taken across both arms.

All of this functionality is built directly into the OLED display itself, without the need for a separate module like most modern fingerprint sensors. It’s unclear how accurate these readings might be, how long the process takes, or whether they can be taken at the same time as a fingerprint is being used for authentication. But the Sensor OLED Display opens up some interesting possibilities for future smartphones that might be able to offer health features normally found on smartwatches. 

Samsung Display doesn’t produce consumer devices directly, so it’s up to other companies or Samsung divisions to purchase these screens and build them into real-world products. But announcements like these are an interesting indication of the kinds of devices that might be possible in the years ahead.