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May 6, 2011

Flexible “paper-phone” is a glimpse of the future

by Darren Allan

Boffins at Queen’s University in Canada working with Arizona State University’s Motivational Environments Research group have come up with a peep into the future of smartphones.

They’ve invented a prototype model of a flexible smartphone which is made from the same E-ink technology used in Amazon‘s Kindle e-reader, the BBC reports.

The 9.5cm touchscreen display is just millimetres thick, and is bonded onto a flexible circuit board which allows it to be bent and flexed like a thick sheet of paper.

The “paper-phone” can be written on with a pen/stylus to interact with it, or bending it can also trigger actions. For example, to turn a page you can just flip a corner, as you would with a notebook.

It sounds pretty weird and wonderful, and its creator Dr Roel Vertegaal reckons the slim piece of tech could pave the way to the paperless office.

He enthused: “Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years.”

Well, probably not everything, but we know what he means. Not only could this be used for futuristic super-slim smartphones, but e-readers, mini-browsers, MP3 players, basically any portable device could be morphed into an ultra-portable form that really does slip into your pocket or wallet with no fuss.

Although losing the thing down the crack between the sofa cushions will be equally as easy.



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