Flexible OLEDs for wearable light therapy

April 04, 2018 // By Julien Happich
Research centre Fraunhofer FEP has announced it will demo a wearable OLED bracelet at Wearables Europe 2018, taking place April 11th-12th in Berlin, Germany.

OLEDs are already on the daily agenda of light- and product designers in the automotive industry, but the wide range of possible design shapes, colours and sizes also makes them an interesting fit for medical applications including light therapy. The OLED light sources can be designed to emit at specific wavelengths for wound healing or to help cure depression.

At Wearables Europe 2018 the Holst Centre from the Netherlands, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Fraunhofer FEP will introduce a novel OLED wristband, one of the first wearable products with flexible organic electronics produced on the pilot line from European joint project PI-SCALE.

Fraunhofer FEP was responsible for the anode deposition on barrier web, which has been produced by the project partner Holst Centre as well as for the OLED-deposition by using evaporation processes. The OLED-deposition at Fraunhofer FEP can be done in Roll-to-Roll (R2R) and Sheet-to-Sheet (S2S) processes.

The Finnish experts of VTT integrated the ready-made OLED into a bracelet and developed the compact power supply for the whole system.

Integration the flexible OLED components into 3D injection molded structures was challenging according to Markus Tuomikoski from VTT who explains: “We used injection molded structural electronics for the integration of the OLED. To meet the demands of a wearable device, the conception and realization of a compact power supply system was necessary. In the end we realized a combination of flexible electronics and flexible OLED within our plastic molded bracelet.” VTT’s hybrid integration line is constructed with commercially available manufacturing equipment, making it possible to adapt the developed process for industrial use fast without the need to develop totally new production machinery or process control systems. Injection molding of electronics with thermoplastics enables cost-efficient, fully integrated and seamless manufacturing of highly functional 3D structures that are ideal for e.g. the fast growing wearables and healthcare product markets.

The flexible OLED bracelet could be used as fashion jewelry, it


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