Microsoft Patent Reveals Foldable Surface Device With Liquid-Filled Hinges
Microsoft files for a lot of patents, and some of the tech that is seen in the patent apps never ends up getting used in production products. A new patent has turned up, and this one is quite a bit different from some of the others we have seen. This patent appears to be for a Surface hinge and was filed by Microsoft Technology Licensing hinting that this patent could be licensed to other companies. The patent has to do with a new liquid-filled hinge design for a flexible OLED device.
After the massive failure that was the original launch of the Samsung Galaxy Fold, keeping debris from getting under the screen of a folding device via the hinge is a big deal. The patent describes how a hinge would work along with a flexible OLED display. The drawings with the patent app show liquid inside of chambers under the flexible display. The image appears to show a solid screen that is flexible and folds in the center rather than a pair of separate screens.
Microsoft has spent considerable effort in integrating the hinge with structures and devices to "prevent foreign materials from entering the hinge assembly/device." Microsoft has licensed the patent for its Surface hinge to partners, so patenting a hinge specifically for licensing to others isn't unheard of. This hinge appears to allow the screen to close in a manner that eliminates any gaps in the display or hinge area.
A patent app from Microsoft that turned up in May showed what appeared to be a Surface Pro 7 with USB-C and a new type cover. In March, a patent turned up that shows a new type of Kickstand, presumably for a Surface Pro. The patent showed a hinge that had less resistance when closing than when opening.