Touch-sensitive OLEDs head for Berlin

An OLED-based touch-controlled light source that is claimed to be the first of its kind in the world will make its debut at the Plastic Electronics show in Berlin later this month.

The flat-surface device, built using organic light-emitting diodes, has been developed at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems.

Thanks to a breakthrough by IPMS engineers who claim to have eliminated the need for additional foils that usually need to be mounted on the surface of a device to make it touch sensitive, it can be switched on and off and dimmed by direct hand motion alone.

Because the OLED itself is used to read out the touch signal, no additional hardware is required, said Jörg Amelung, head of the institute’s organic materials and systems business unit. “The touch function generates a completely new feeling of light. It’s like magic: turn on the light simply by a hand movement.”

Amelung believes the technique could by implemented in just about any OLED using an optimized readout circuit which does not affect efficiency.

Plastic Electronics takes place on 28-29 October 2008.

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