Canadian researchers have created a flexible prototype smartphone concept made out of electronic paper that can perform different functions depending on how you bend or flex it.
Sound a bit crazy? Maybe it is today, but the head of the team behind the left-field PaperPhone reckons we'll all be using something similar within the next five years.
Dr Roel Vertegaal and his fellow researchers at the Human Media Lab at Queen's University in Canada created the PaperPhone in collaboration with a group from Arizona State University to investigate the practicalities of using bending and flexing as a means to control electronics devices.
The prototype they created, currently on display in Vancouver, is hooked up to a laptop so the scientists can monitor the results.
In terms of features, the PaperPhone can do all the same things a normal smartphone is capable of, but it's how you get it to do them that sets it apart from pretty much any other gadget in history.
Different functions are set to trigger when the device is bent, folded and flexed at its corners are down its sides.
The prototype is made from the same technology that produces the e-ink panels used in e-readers like the Amazon Kindle. However, it's bonded to flex sensors and features a touchscreen able to interpret drawings and text.
“This computer looks, feels and operates like a small sheet of interactive paper,” Dr Vertegaal said. “You interact with it by bending it into a cell phone, flipping the corner to turn pages, or writing on it with a pen.”
“Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years.”