Flexible paper computer to revolutionise smartphones?

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The world's first interactive paper computer has been unveiled by a team of Canadian researchers, who claim it is set to 'revolutionise' the world of interactive computing.

According to Dr Roel Vertegaal, director of Queen's University Human Media Lab, the smartphone prototype, called PaperPhone, has all the capabilities of a smartphone. It can store books, play music or make phone calls but its display consists of a 9.5cm diagonal thin film flexible E Ink display. The flexible form of the display makes it much more portable that traditional mobile computers and the device uses no power when not in use. Vertegaal believes this is the future of smartphones. "Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years," he said. "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." Vertegaal noted that by storing and interacting with documents on larger versions of these light, flexible computers, 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." Dr Vertegaal will unveil his paper computer on May 10 at 2 pm at the Association of Computing Machinery's CHI 2011 (Computer Human Interaction) conference in Vancouver , an international conference of human computer interaction. An article on a study of interactive use of bending with flexible thin film computers is to be published at this conference, where a thin film wristband computer called Snaplet will also be demonstrated. A video of the device can be viewed here.