PaperFold Foldable Smartphone

The PaperFold foldable smartphone is a revolutionary prototype device from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

(PaperFold foldable smartphone)

The shape-changing smartphone allows users to fold open up to three flexible electrophoretic displays to provide extra screen real estate when needed. Displays are detachable such that users can fold the device into various shapes that can range from an ultra notebook shape to a foldout map.

“In PaperFold, each display tile can act independently or as part of a single system,” says Dr. Vertegaal, a professor in the School of Computing and Director of the Human Media Lab at Queen’s. “It allows multiple device form factors, providing support for mobile tasks that require large screen real estate or keyboards on demand, while retaining an ultra-compact, ultra-thin and lightweight form factor.”

PaperFold automatically recognizes its shape and changes its graphics to provide different functionality upon shape changes. For example, folding the device into an ultra notebook form factor opens up a keyboard on the bottom screen. Users could use this form factor to type a search, e.g., for an address on Google Maps – displayed on the top screen.

Science fiction fans may recall the interactive map from Stanislaw Lem's 1961 novel Return from the Stars: gave me a little plastic book with four fold-outs, maps of the city's transit system. When I wanted to go somewhere, I touched the silver-printed name - street, level, square - and instantly on the map a circuit of all the necessary connections lit up. I could also travel by gleeder. Or by rast. Or - finally - on foot; therefore, four maps.

I should also point out the polycarbon phone screen from William Gibson's 1986 novel Count Zero.

Take a look at these additional smartphone prototypes with unusual displays.

Via Queen's University press release.

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