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Would you watch streaming video on your shirt?

wearable technologyWearable technology is one of the hottest new product lines. What is available today, and what might that mean for streaming video in the future?

Currently, there are fitness devices you wear on your wrist that measure everything you do and look like bracelets. Smartwatches with small screens offer the time as well as important information you need. They also have the potential for viewing video.

Already, Google Glass streams video even though it currently has a small user base.

Examining technology that is already available today gives some insight into where existing technology may go. Or at least gives us a basis for speculation.

Take OLED, or organic light emitting diodes, for example. OLED is extremely light, thin and flexible. The curved OLED TV models released in 2013 demonstrate all three qualities. The LG 55EA980W model debuted on sale in the UK for a modest £8,000 in September 2013. It’s a 55 inch TV, but just 4.5 mm thick. And it is curved to offer better, more immersive viewing.

Research on OLEDs and how they work show there really isn’t any limitation to their use. says OLED “could even be sewn into clothing with an associated computer chip and power supply.”

Now that would be a new form factor for video unlike any other. Rather than wearing a separate device, the OLED screen could be sewn right into our shirts. Simply look at your forearm to see your favorite TV show or movie right on your sleeve.

Science fiction has long dreamed of entire walls functioning as a TV or computer monitor. They exist today by merging smaller screens together – but you can almost always tell it’s a wall of screens, not just a wall. Perhaps OLED could finally offer the solution. A TV wall could be as simple as rolling on OLED wallpaper and plugging it in.

Certainly there are technical hurdles to overcome before using OLED as a video screen in clothing or as wallpaper (the requirement for a TFT substrate, for example). Somehow though, most technical challenges are overcome eventually. Or a new technology will emerge that solves the problems in a different way.

In the future, it’s likely we’ll be watching streaming video in ways we can’t even imagine today. Do you have a favourite prediction? Let us know in the comments.

Oliver Burt

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