Flexible display comes of age this year. It seems that the industry has finally settled on the foldable form factor as the way for the dynamically flexible display to debut in products, primarily in the mobile space. This new form factor represents a number of new challenges for the whole display stack including the touch sensor layer. The user interface, which is typically represented by the touch sensor, is now called upon to serve interactions over a dynamically changing surface, and a form factor containing new contact surfaces such as the folding edge. For an unfolded display, one-handed interaction is practically impossible, and the device interface may have to provide increased functionality at the edges of the display as well as the back. Such challenges also represent opportunities for new types of interfaces that transcend the conventional capacitive touch. Force-touch is one of these new interfaces that seems particularly suited to a dynamically flexible display. In this talk, we will discuss the advantages of flexible force touch sensing as it applies to flexible/foldable displays. We will present our technology behind the realization of ultra-thin flexible force sensor arrays that can be integrated behind a foldable OLED, or at the edges of a flexible OLED display. We will also discuss other opportunities for deeper integration of force sensors into the display module.
Dr. Tolis Voutsas is currently the CTO of Peratech, Inc. a company developing force sensing solutions for a variety of applications in industrial and consumer electronics. He is an expert on thin film electronics and monolithic/bilithic electronic system integration. Prior to joining Peratech, he held senior management positions in a number of startups, after a lengthy career in the display industry with SHARP. Throughout his career, he has contributed to and led a wide variety of R&D projects across the whole spectrum of material, process, device, and system development for flat panel displays and sensor arrays. He has been responsible for several technology transfers to large-volume manufacturing and has led initiatives in the space of flexible and wearable electronics. Dr. Voutsas received Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University (US), a M.S. degree in Management of Technology from Washington State University (US), and a B.S. Eng. degree from the Polytechnic School of Thessaloniki (Greece). He has given many invited talks in the fields of displays & sensors, authored over 60 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 3 book chapters, and has been awarded over 100 US patents.