A fold-up computer screen has been unveiled by a group of researchers in Canada.
Dubbed the ‘MagicScroll’ it’s being billed as the world’s ‘first rollable tablet PC’.
The flexible display unrolls from around a cylindrical spindle into a 7.5-inch that can then be laid flat.
There are two rotary wheels on each end that allow a user to unroll the display and scroll through contacts on the display.
It can still be used when it’s rolled up, such as for making a phone call one-handed.
As a phone, the cylindrical form factor allows for a better ergonomic fit for single-handed use, the researchers explained. MagicScroll’s creators, from the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University in Canada, say the device is small enough to fit in a pocket when it’s rolled up.
We were inspired by the design of ancient scrolls because their form allows for a more natural, uninterrupted experience of long visual timelines, Roel Vertegaal, director of the Human Media Lab, said in a statement.
Another source of inspiration was the old Rolodex filing systems that were used to store and browse contact cards.
The MagicScroll’s scroll wheel allows for infinite scroll action for quick browsing through long lists.
Unfolding the scroll is a tangible experience that gives a full screen view of the selected item.’
Another feature packed into the device is motion-sensing similar to a Nintendo game controller.
The team says its next goal is to try and make the device even smaller.
‘Eventually, our hope is to design the device so that it can even roll into something as small as a pen that you could carry in your shirt pocket,’ Dr. Vertegaal said.
‘More broadly, the MagicScroll project is also allowing us to further examine notions that ‘screens don’t have to be flat’ and ‘anything can become a screen’.
Plenty of tech manufacturers are looking into producing phones with flexible screens.
According to tech site ZD Net, Samsung’s mobile phone boss DJ Koh told journalists at the event that when it comes to making a foldable phone, Samsung ‘didn’t want to lose the world’s-first title.’
He said the company was ‘focusing on developing innovations that will be genuinely accepted and liked by consumers.’
The idea of creating a folding phone was first prompted back in 2016 and the company has worked on it since then.
And we’re not talking about those Motorola flip phones from the 90s with a keypad, either.
These would be proper smartphones that use cutting-edge foldable screen technology like the one above developed by the Human Media Lab.
As well as having a central display that folds along a spine, the futuristic gadget could have a screen on the outside.
We dread to think of the repair bill if you drop it.