LG’s new stretchable high-res display is bizarre but brilliant

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Every so often, major tech companies unveil something truly groundbreaking – and LG may have struck innovation gold with its latest display announcement. 

LG Display, the panel-producing sister company to LG Electronics, has lifted the lid on what it’s calling “the world’s first 12-inch high-resolution stretchable display” – a panel that can be deformed by up to 20% of its original size and shape without suffering any damage.

Yes, you read that right: LG has made a stretchable display. And not just ‘stretchable’ in the marketing sense, either. This is a micro-LED display (not OLED, interestingly) that can be extended, folded and twisted in the same way as a bendy high school ruler – all while maintaining its full-color RGB properties and 100ppi resolution.

LG says its new display is “thin, lightweight and easily attachable to curved surfaces such as skin, clothing, furniture, automobiles and aircraft.” In other words, the technology has the potential to prove useful in a variety of industries – not least the worlds of fashion, wearables, mobility and gaming. Check out a picture of the display in action at a recent LG demonstration below. 

LG Display's new stretchable panel in use

LG’s new stretchable panel can be stretched up to 14 inches (Image credit: LG Display)

The display’s flexible material is based on a highly resilient film-type substrate that’s made of the same special silicon as used in contact lenses. As a result, the display can be stretched up to 14 inches, which LG claims offers “a cutting-edge solution [that surpasses] existing foldable and rollable technology.”

At present, even the very best foldable phones suffer from fragile inner displays and bulky designs that limit their mainstream appeal as viable alternatives to the best phones. LG’s new display technology, though, could pave the way for a far more adventurous handheld future that doesn’t come at the expense of real-world practicality. 

Strictly speaking, LG isn’t the first manufacturer to unveil a stretchable display. Samsung debuted an OLED-based stretchable prototype in 2017, and a cool-but-highly-impractical stretchable TV in 2021, but neither project has gathered much momentum in the years since. LG, in contrast, clearly has lofty ambitions for its groundbreaking new display technology. 

Whether we see the company’s 12-inch micro-LED panels attached to clothes and airplanes in the near future remains to be seen – history has taught us not to get too excited about innovations we know very little about. For our money, though, stretchables will usurp foldables and rollables as the coolest new tech products on the block sooner rather than later. 

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