One of the most promising uses for OLED (organic light emitting diode) lighting is in the manufacture of motorcycles.
OLED lights are basically panels of light made up of several extremely thin layers of organic material or organic polymers sandwiched between two very thin layers of conductive material. Although, this type of lighting has been studied for decades, it is only now being manufactured and used in practical applications. Because these types of lights are so thin and light weight, they are a perfect fit for motorcycles where everything must be as compact as possible.
One of the first practical uses for OLED lighting is for dash display panels, as these are already being developed and are appearing in some concept vehicles. OLED displays use a different type of technology than LEDs that must have a backlight. OLEDs require no backlight and are thinner and also use less power.
Other uses for OLED technology in motorcycles are for tail lights. Again, an OLED version of a tail light will be much thinner, lightweight and more energy efficient, making it a perfect component. OLED tail lights are actually little panels of light rather than panels made up of clusters of lights (like LED lights). While often tail lights and brake lights are a combination item, it appears that as OLED tail lights come into use, the brake light component may not be ready at the same time. While OLED lights are brighter than LED lights, they have not been developed yet to be bright enough to be used as brake lights. Brake lights must be approximately five times more intense than regular tail lights, and OLEDs are not currently strong enough for this purpose. It is thought that at some point a tail light/brake light combination from OLED and other light type may be possible but until then two different technologies for the two different lights will be necessary.
Transparent OLED lighting is currently being worked on and is even part of some concept vehicles already. Transparent OLED lighting is something that can be used in windshields. This allows information to be displayed for the driver without compromising his view of the road or anything else. Transparent displays can be helpful by putting information up into view for the driver, lessening the need to look down at traditional gauges and taking their eyes off the road to do so.
Because of the thinness of the OLED, they are perfect for long strips of lighting (sometimes called OLED tape). For motorcycles, the application of this type of strip lighting could be utilized for safety lighting, making the vehicle much more visible to other drivers, especially at night. In this way, OLED lighting could actually address some of the safety concerns many people have with motorcycle traffic.
While OLED lighting may only be used for dash/display purposes to begin with, the eventual use of this technology for other lighting needs seems inevitable in future models of motorcycles.