Apple's iPhone is considered one of the best smartphones in the world. Many cell phone makers have tried to take down the juggernaut, with some Android-based devices coming close, but in order to become an actual iPhone killer, something revolutionary needs to happen in the mobile world. And Human Media Lab (HML) may be the ones to make it happen.
The lab at Queen's University in Canada has designed the world's first interactive paper computer, where flexibility replaces rigidness. The smartphone prototype is aptly named PaperPhone, and consists of a super thin, bendable film E Ink display that measures 3.7 inches (9.5 cm). It's not exactly made from paper, but it sure acts like it with a comparable thickness.
Its electrophoretic display does not consume electricity unless refreshed, and the thinfilm resistive sensors in the flexible circuit respond to bends in the screen. You can play music files, make phone calls, navigate though eBooks, and play games just by performing a simple bend function. Roel Vertegaal, director of HML states, "You interact with it by bending it into a cell phone, flipping the corner to turn pages, or writing on it with a pen."
"This is the future. Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years."
Is it the future of smartphone technology? Can something that bends and conforms to your pocket really replace current mobile devices? See for yourself... It might just revolutionize the world of interactive computing, making mobile devices even more 'mobile'.
Dr. Vertegaal is set to reveal this paper phone technology at CHI 2011—the premier international conference of human-computer interaction—on May 10th in Vancouver. Check out the full scientific article to be presented at the conference, which explains the entire project and covers in detail the bend gestures and how they work.
They've also developed a flexible Snaplet—a wristband computer that senses its shape and acts much like the PaperPhone. Here's the article that covers all the details.