Flexible paper computer ‘does everything a smartphone can’

A professor at Queen’s University Human Media Laboratory in Kingston, Ontario has unveiled what is claimed to be the world’s first interactive ’paper computer’.

The smartphone prototype — called PaperPhone — is best described as a flexible iPhone. It does everything a smartphone can, such as store books, play music or make phone calls. But its display consists of a 9.5cm diagonal thin-film flexible E Ink display.

‘Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years,’ said Prof Roel Vertegaal, associate professor in human-computer Interaction at Queen’s University, who helped develop the computer. ‘This computer looks, feels and operates like a small sheet of interactive paper. You interact with it by bending it into a cell phone, flipping the corner to turn pages, or writing on it with a pen.’

Dr Vertegaal will formally unveil his paper computer on 10 May at the Association of Computing Machinery’s CHI 2011 (Computer Human Interaction) conference in Vancouver, Canada.

The engineers at Queens University that developed the computer were assisted by counterparts at Arizona State University (ASU) and Dr Michael McCreary, vice-president of research and development at E Ink.