The whole craze for a future smartwatch really picked up momentum once Apple's early 2013 patent application came to light. The invention provided us with a broad stroke of conceptual ideas regarding a wide-band display worn on a user's wrist. Samsung countered that with a patent application filing in September 2013 which covered the same basic idea with a number of twists. One was that their design would provide a rotatable display. Last week the U.S. Patent Office revealed a new Samsung patent filing regarding this wrist band computer. More specifically, the invention relates to wearable devices that are capable of transforming between an annularly bent state and a flat state. Samsung's next-gen smartwatch is noted as being able to support both multimedia and communication modules.
Samsung's Patent Background
Portable wearable devices (hereinafter, mobile devices), such as communication devices, game devices, multimedia devices, portable computers, and imaging devices include display devices displaying image information and input devices such as keypads. Mobile devices commonly have foldable structures such that the mobile devices may be folded into a smaller size for portability. In such mobile devices, two bodies are connected by a foldable structure. Since conventional display devices have structures that are not foldable, the conventional display devices may be disposed in any one of the two bodies. Accordingly, mobile devices having a foldable structure may be difficult to apply to wide display devices.
Recently, as bendable flexible display devices are developed, research is being conducted about applying flexible display devices to wearable devices that may be worn on a human body, for example, on the wrist or the like, due to the transformation capabilities of the wearable devices between an annularly bent state and a flat state.
Samsung Invents a Wearable Device that Supports a Wide-Band Flexible Display
Samsung's invention provides wearable devices that may stably support flexible display devices. One or more embodiments may provide wearable devices that may have an improved external appearance.
In an aspect of one or more embodiments, there is provided a wearable device that is configured for a transformation between an annularly bent state and a flat state, the wearable device which may include a plurality of segment members including a top portion and a bottom portion having a shorter length than the top portion; a plurality of connecting members that may be disposed to correspond to the plurality of segment members, wherein each of the plurality of connecting members may be connected to be mutually rotatable with two segment members disposed respectively on both sides thereof; a bistable spring that is supported on the plurality of segment members to provide elasticity in a direction into the annularly bent state and retentively maintaining the flat state; and a flexible display device that is supported on the top portion of the plurality of segment members.
Samsung's patent FIG. 1 noted below is an external perspective view of a wearable device according to an embodiment and FIG. 2 is a side view of the wearable device shown in FIG. 1 in a flat state.
The flexible display device #2 may include a flexible display panel #21 that displays an image as illustrated in FIG. 2 and a transparent protection panel #23 disposed on an outer side of the flexible display panel.
Also, the flexible display device #2 may further include a touch panel #22 as an input unit. The touch panel may be disposed between the transparent protection panel and the flexible display panel. Also, the flexible display device 2 may further include various optical panels or optical films.
The body #1 may include a processing unit (not shown) and an input-output unit (not shown) that perform functions according to the purpose of a wearable device. When the wearable device is a multimedia device for watching images or listening to music, the processing unit may include an image/audio information processing unit.
When the wearable device is a communication device, the processing unit may include a communication module. The input-output unit may include an image/audio input and output unit and an operating unit (not shown) for user operation. The operating unit may be realized by the touch panel integrated in the flexible display device.
As shown in Samsung's patent FIG. 3 below, the wearable device may be annularly bent, wherein the body #1 supports the flexible display device #2 from an inner surface of the flexible display device to be annularly bent with a curvature. As the wearable device is annularly bent, the wearable device may be worn on a human body, for example, on a wrist, as illustrated in FIG. 3.
For transformations between the flat state and the annularly bent state, the body may include a plurality of segment members #310 sequentially connected to be rotatable.
Samsung's patent FIG. 6 as presented below is an exploded perspective view of a wearable device where we can see the Bistable Spring (#3). The bistable spring is a type of spring that is capable of (configured for) elastic transformation between a flat state and an annularly bent state.
Samsung filed their U.S. patent application back in Q3 2014. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
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