Canadian and U.S. researchers have announced the results of their collaboration: a prototype flexible smartphone made of electronic paper, BBC News reported today.
The prototype, named the PaperPhone, is described as a bendable iPhone. It can do the same things smartphones can do, including making and receiving calls, sending messages, playing music or displaying e-books, and can be bent, folded and flexed at its corners or sides.
The device came from the Human Media Lab, at Queen’s University, Canada and Arizona State University’s Motivational Environments Research group.
The gadget, measuring 3.7 inches (9.5 cm) and consisting of the same e-ink technology as Amazon’s Kindle, is bonded to flex sensors and a touchscreen which receives drawing and text written on it, The Huffington Post reported.
“This computer looks, feels and operates like a small sheet of interactive paper,” creator Dr. Roel Vertegaal said in a statement. “You interact with it by bending it into a cell phone, flipping the corner to turn pages, or writing on it with a pen.”
As technology evolves and becomes cheaper, the resolution of colour screen and some touchscreen controls will be improved, Vertegaal said.
Although it will likely to take at least five to 10 years for this technology to hit mass market, “It’s a replacement for the computer as we know it; it’s going to change everything,” he said.
The prototype now costs about $7,000 to make, but he imagined it could be cheaply mass produced in a few years, The Canadian Press reported.