The scientists at Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab have built a prototype rollable touchscreen device which is a combination of smartphone and tablet. The device, which is named as MagicScroll, is inspired by the ancient scrolls which can be rolled-up into a cylindrical form and has a flexible touchscreen housed in the casing.
This device was produced using 3D printing and has a flexible 7.5″ screen having resolution of 2K. In order to flip through on-screen contacts, there is a physical rotary wheel located at both edges of the device. When the user finds an interesting content which requires deeper examination, the display can be unrolled and function as a tablet display.
The prototype includes a camera that permits the device to be controlled using gestures. Robotic actuators have been added to the rotary wheels which enables the scroll to move or spin physically in situations when it receives a notification.
The researchers admit that their prototype is still rather large at this stage. Even though it is bulky at this R&D stage, the team claims that the cylindrical, flexible screen form factor of their prototype offers advantages by being lightweight and easier to hold with one hand than a traditional tablet device. When rolled up it can be easily fitted into a pocket.
The tem hopes to design the device in such a way that it can be rolled into something as small as a pen that could be carried in a shirt pocket.
The team has made a video about the prototype in action and it will be presented at the MobileHCI conference on Human-Computer Interaction in Barcelona next month.
Check the video for more details