21 Aug This company could completely change how we interact with all our screens
We live in a world of screens. And most Americans spend a lot of time with them — roughly 7.4 hours per day, by some estimates. And while screens help us work and stay in touch, they’re not exactly…friendly. They’re rigid. They’re fragile. And they lack a certain warmth.
That’s what makes what Polyera, a Chicago-based firm, has to show off so truly different and interesting — a screen that can bend and twist without breaking. This isn’t just the curved screen that you see in some phones and televisions today. This is a screen that’s had its internal components redesigned entirely, so that it can move like a fabric.
“Right now we design electronic devices that are built on rigid little bricks, so our devices end up looking like rigid little bricks,” Philippe Inagaki, Polyera’s chief executive, said. “We wanted to make a fundamental technology that would completely open up the design capabilities. Now we’re playing with materials that are more warm, and integrating electronics with materials that are more like leather than they are metal or glass.”
The company revealed the first real application of this technology this week, announcing a new wearable device called Wove — basically a screen that you can wrap around your wrist like a bracelet. The screen is housed in a cuff that has links like a watch band. Users can interact with Wove when it’s rolled up or when it’s flat.
The e-ink display — similar to what you’d see in a Kindle, for example — is touch-sensitive and energy efficient. So, unlike many of the the smartwatches that we’ve seen hit the market, which essentially shrink a smartphone display down to the size of a watch face, the Wove can last multiple days without having to be charged.
Being able to wrap Wove around your wrist also means that you have a lot more screen real estate to work with. Polyera’s already designed geometric patterns that you can have in static display while you’re not using Wove, to make it a little more fashionable. The display for this first model is in grayscale, but there are plans for a color version down the line, Inagaki said.