This touchscreen tablet rolls up like an ancient scroll
MANILA, Philippines - Researchers from Queen’s University - Human Media Lab have developed a rollable touch-screen tablet that takes inspiration from ancient scrolls of early human history.
Aptly called MagicScroll, the prototype device features a 7.5-inch, 2K resolution flexible display rolled around a 3D-printed cylindrical body which houses all internal components.
The device has two rotary wheels on opposite ends to allow users to scroll through long lists of information. They can then unfold the screen to expand display real estate and get a full screen view of a selected item.
For instance, users can browse through their list of LinkedIn contacts while the screen is rolled up. When they find a profile they want to magnify, they can pop the screen up to get a better view.
The screen, meanwhile, is rolled back up when users want to make a call as it’s much easier to have the device resting on the side of a person’s face in its cylindrical state.
“We were inspired by the design of ancient scrolls because their form allows for a more natural, uninterrupted experience of long visual timelines,” said Roel Vertegaal, professor of human-computer interaction and director of the lab.
What’s more is that the rotary wheels have robotic actuators that allow it to move or spin in place in scenarios such as receiving notifications. It also has a camera that lets users control the device with gestures, similar to Nintendo’s Wiimote.
Despite the device being compact and lightweight enough to be held in one hand, the researchers admit that it’s still quite large.
"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.' Whether it's a reusable cup made of an interactive screen on which you can select your order before arriving at a coffee-filling kiosk, or a display on your clothes, we're exploring how objects can become the apps."
The prototype device will be presented at this year’s MobileHCI, an international conference on human and computer interaction to be held in Barcelona, Spain. – Rappler.com