Image via YouTube video
The Queens University Human Media Lab has come up with a phone that not only provides a new way of interacting with your smart phone, but also what could be the most durable device yet. Using electronic paper, you simply bend the corners to call, play music, text and so on.
The Vancouver Sun reports that the paper phone will have the look and feel of a sheet of translucent paper, and will utilize electronic ink technology, similar to what is used with e-readers. Squeezing, curving and bending the paper give different instructions for everything form making a phone call to changing which song is playing.
The lab prototype shown above shows promise. In fact, Prof. Roel Vertegaal, director of Queen's University's Human Media Lab, told the Vancouver Sun, "We expect all phones to be like this within five to 10 years."
However, I wouldn't expect this bendable technology to take over the smart phone industry very quickly. We're more used to touch screen than trying to flex our texts. It's more intuitive to use touch screen for all the functions we demand from our smart phones, rather than memorizing a catalog of bend movements. Plus, Vertegaal states that it would take hundreds of millions of dollars in research and development to see this concept brought to market. Yet, the possibility of electronics being flexible is very exciting, because it makes them possibly that much more durable. With it being so light and flexible, the possibility of breaking it by dropping it or other abuse is less likely. There are no buttons to bust, no screens to crack... it's a klutz's dream come true.
Vertegaal believes this is the first paper phone ever created, and it's definitely the first we've ever heard of. However, it is not the first flexible phone dreamed up. We first heard of the idea of a flexible, foldable phone from Kyocera, which hoped to build kinetic charging into the motion of folding the phone open and closed. Though, this electronic paper phone, even if it is 10 years away, is still far closer to reality than Kyocera's concept.
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