Taiwan research center developing wearable gadget

A government-funded Taiwanese research group plans to show off its prowess in flexible display technology by developing a wearable and flexible electronic device by the end of October, an official said Thursday.

Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) gave very few specifics on the product it plans to show off later this year, but a picture one researcher showed during a conference on displays in Taipei this week revealed a device with a long, flexible screen that could be worn around the wrist like a thick watch or as an armband.

“Everyone is looking to the future for flexible electronics and displays,” said Tzong-Ming Lee, a researcher at ITRI, during a speech at FPD (flat panel display) Taiwan 2005.

The hope is that flexible displays will someday replace paper, making possible foldable electronic newspapers, magazines, books and signs, as well as an army of bendable electronics gear to wear on clothes, wrists or arms.

The ITRI development project probably won’t have a final product ready until 2008, said Tzong. The device to be displayed in October will be a prototype.

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