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From: Paul H. Christiansen4/29/2019 8:55:13 AM
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Bizarre New Materials Could Make Bendy Phones That Work

Just days before its chimeric folding phone was supposed to go on sale, Samsung yanked the Galaxy Fold off the market (for now). Early review units had revealed a number of critical issues—faulty hinges, layers peeling off the display, and screens on the fritz—which turned the $1,980 smartphone dream into a PR nightmare.

Samsung hasn’t yet released a postmortem, but one area of scrutiny will be the screen, which relies on a different combination of materials than standard phones to lend it its folding superpowers. Because, surprise, this stuff is difficult. Bendy phones are only now possible because of fancy new materials, ones that likely don’t have all the kinks worked out yet. Whatever happens with the Galaxy Fold, the desire for bendable screens is leading to some unusual new technologies.

One particularly fascinating approach involves metamaterials. It’s a technology that’s already used, for instance, to create laser-reflecting glasses for airline pilots. And you could see metamaterials popping up in a whole lot more applications in the near future, including phones.

“Metamaterials are essentially artificially structured, man-made materials, where instead of using naturally occurring atoms and molecules, we define our own sub-wavelength structures,” says electrical engineer Jonathan Fan, who studies the stuff at Stanford University.

Read More - Wired
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