South Korean electronics giant Samsung announced Thursday that it has a new “unbreakable” display prototype.
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a testing company for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) — part of the U.S. Department of Labor — certified the panel.
According to the testing company, the display passed a rigorous test based on military standards.
The display prototype survived 26 1.2-metre drop tests. Furthermore, the display survived high and low temperature tests ranging from 71 to -32 degrees Celsius.
Despite all the testing, the display panel continued to operate as normal with no damage to it’s front, sides or edges.
UL also performed a 1.8-metre drop test which did not damage the panel.
According to Samsung, the prototype uses a flexible OLED panel built using an unbreakable substrate. The company adhered the panel to a plastic overlay window.
The process was reportedly similar to current displays, though the OLED is fixed to glass which is inherently fragile.
“The fortified plastic window is especially suitable for portable electronic devices not only because of its unbreakable characteristics, but also because of its lightweight, transmissivity and hardness, which are all very similar to glass,” said Hojung Kim, general manager of the communication team at the Samsung Display Company.
Display prototype in action
Samsung also published a YouTube video showing off the display prototype.
In the video, a woman describes the differences between the new prototype and traditional glass displays.
The woman attacks the prototype with a mallet, in an attempt to break or damage the display. Despite hitting the panel six times with a mallet, the prototype shows no visible damage.
However, the video doesn’t show the display turned on or activated at any point, leaving plenty of room to speculate about the panel’s actual durability.
It should be noted that using plastic to increase the durability of displays isn’t uncommon. Plastic is rather easy to scratch however.
While the Samsung prototype doesn’t appear to scratch in the video, it’s still to early to say if this is the display of the future.
If this prototype is everything it seems to be, however, we could have shatter-proof phones sooner than previously thought.