Will paper computers revolutionize smartphones and tablets?

Users interact with the paper computer by bending it into a cell phone, flipping the corner to turn pages, or writing on it with a pen.

Best described as a flexible iPhone, the world’s first interactive paper computer is set to revolutionize the world of interactive computing, according to Roel Vertegaal, creator of the computer and director of Queen’s University Human Media Lab:

This is the future. Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years. 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, does everything a smartphone does, like store books, play music, or make phone calls. But its display consists of a 9.5 cm (3.74 in) diagonal thin film flexible E Ink display. The flexible form of the display makes it much more portable than any current mobile computer: it will shape with your pocket.

Dr. Vertegaal will unveil his paper computer on May 10, 2011 at the Association of Computing Machinery CHI 2011 (Computer Human Interaction) conference in Vancouver – the premier international conference of human-computer interaction.

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.

The invention heralds a new generation of computers that are super lightweight, film-thin, and flexible. They use no power unless someone is interacting with them. When users are reading, they don’t feel as though they’re holding a sheet of glass or metal.

A study on 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.

Bottom line: Roel Vertegaal, director of Queen’s University Human Media Lab, has created the world’s first interactive paper computer, which he says he believes will revolutionize the computer industry. Dr. Vertegaal will unveil his computer on May 10, 2011 at the Association of Computing Machinery CHI 2011 (Computer Human Interaction) conference in Vancouver.

Via Queen’s University

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