Polyera Announces Flexible Watch for 2016

Polyera 1 08 2015

While we are all talking about the smartwatch and especially the latest model from Apple, Polyera has announced a watch with a flexible display for release in 2016. In this case, not only is the display a flexible AMOLED display as used in some devices already, but the whole watch is basically a flexible wristband.

Polyera is a US based company with offices and a manufacturing plant in the US and Taiwan. It was founded in 2005 and has accumulated 100+ patents in the field of flexible electronics. If this sounds similar to FlexEnable / Plastic Logic, you are on the right track.

Polyera has developed a process for creating flexible TFTs on a plastic substrate without the use of traditional thin film layers such as silicon. Depositing thin films of brittle materials on flexible substrates will allow the manufacturing of curved devices, but repeated bending will also destroy the TFT structure and thereby limit the flexibility of any end user device.

Source: Polyera

Polyera Digital Fabric Technology™ can support traditional displays or logic, and can be used as a drop-in solution in traditional display manufacturing plants or with the use of novel techniques like printing.

Now Polyera has announced that a flexible watch using this technology will be released in 2016 under the name WOVEN. They claim that this is the first fully flexible watch, even though similar displays based on electrophoretic technology have been shown before. I have even seen prototypes of similar products, but they may have not made it into the market so far.

Polyera 2 08 2015Source: Polyera

From the look of it, it seems that WOVEN is some kind of smart watch that represents more of a thin smartphone wrapped around the wrist. The display uses an E-Ink frontplane that limits the resolution to what is possible on the backplane. While Polyera has made an announcement officially to its shareholders, the technical facts in the release are a little sparse, to say the least. There is no mention of functionality or display resolution; I guess we will have to wait for the next press release. One thing is for sure, with an E-Ink display the power consumption should be pretty low and therefore battery life pretty impressive, unless they pack too many smartwatch functions into the device.

It also seems clear from the published images that they are using a black and white display instead of the color version and outdoor visibility should be excellent. On the other hand the use with video will be somewhat limited. – NH