It’s an invention that excites futurists everywhere: a paper-thin computer that can be rolled up and stuffed into your pocket. But the future isn’t that far off as researchers at the Queen’s University Human Media Lab in Ontario, Canada, have developed a prototype computer and display that does just that.
The University released a statement announcing the achievement – and interestingly, interchangeably used the terms “computer” and “smartphone” to describe it. “This computer looks, feels and operates like a small sheet of interactive paper,” declared creator Roel Vertegaal, director of the Lab. “You interact with it by bending it into a cellphone, flipping the corner to turn pages or writing on it with a pen.”
Vertegaal also said the invention is a smartphone prototype, called “paperphone.” He went on to say it’s “best described as a flexible iPhone.” Whatever the technology is called, researchers said it could be used in tablets, phones and other devices – and that it will conform to the shape of your pocket.
Visions of the Future
Sci-fi television shows and movies have been giving us glimpses into the future of computing for some time. The Steven Spielberg film Minority Report has several examples of futuristic displays, for both computers and other types of devices.
This clip from Minority Report shows several types of futuristic displays. In addition to the crystal-clear computer monitor, watch closely for the cartoon playing on the cereal box.
The computer revolution is still in full swing; creative inventions like bendable touch-screen displays more than prove that. Developing computer programs or even hardware defines the next generation of technology, but the future, it seems, is already here.
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