Professor Roel Vertegaal’s PaperPhone is best described as a flexible iPhone. Photo: Queen’s Univ.
The world’s first interactive paper computer is set to
revolutionize the world of interactive computing.
“This is the future. Everything is going to look and feel
like this within five years,” says creator Roel Vertegaal, the director of
Queen’s Univ. Human Media Lab,. “This computer looks, feels, and operates like
a small sheet of interactive paper. You interact with it by bending it into a
cell phone, flipping the corner to turn pages, or writing on it with a pen.”
The smartphone prototype, called PaperPhone is best described
as a flexible iPhone—it does everything a smartphone does, like store books,
play music, or make phone calls. But its display consists of a 9.5 cm diagonal
thin film flexible E Ink display. The flexible form of the display makes it
much more portable that any current mobile computer: it will shape with your
Dr. Vertegaal will unveil his paper computer on May 10,
2011 at the Association of Computing Machinery’s CHI 2011 (Computer Human
Interaction) conference in Vancouver.
Being able to store and interact with documents on larger
versions of these light, flexible computers means offices will no longer
require paper or printers.
“The paperless office is here. Everything can be stored
digitally and you can place these computers on top of each other just like a
stack of paper, or throw them around the desk” says Dr. Vertegaal.
The invention heralds a new generation of computers that
are super lightweight, thin-film and flexible. They use no power when nobody is
interacting with them. When users are reading, they don’t feel like they’re
holding a sheet of glass or metal.
An article on a study of interactive use of bending with
flexible thin-film computers is to be published at the conference in Vancouver, where the
group is also demonstrating a thin-film wristband computer called Snaplet.
The development team included
researchers Byron Lahey and Win Burleson of the Motivational Environments
Research Group at Arizona State Univ. (ASU), Audrey Girouard and Aneesh Tarun
from the Human Media Lab at Queen’s Univ., Jann Kaminski and Nick Colaneri,
director of ASU’s Flexible
and Seth Bishop and Michael McCreary, the VP R&D of E Ink Corporation.