Smartphones running an e-paper display are really rare. The YotaPhone out of Russia was the first commercially viable product, while we are still waiting on the Onyx Phone. Soon the industry may have flexible and bendable e-Paper technology to employ on their devices, thanks to Paperfold.
Queen’s professor Roel Vertegaal and student Antonio Gomes have introduced the Paperfold 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. It will be powered by an E Ink touchscreen display provide over a month of battery life.
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.
This technology is basically a proof of concept, but does demonstrate the core functionality via Google Maps. The screen itself utilizes a Plastic Logic backplane & electrics and an E Ink frontplane.
Roel Vertegaal who is a professor at Queens University has years of experience in the e-Paper space. In 2013 he demonstrated the PaperTab at CES, in conjunction with Plastic Logic and Intel. Likely this new bendable screen technology will have better practical applications in the smartphone industry.
Update: Kevin Godfrey of Plastic Logic Wrote in and stated “We have been working with Roel’s group for some time, and his team continue to come up with groundbreaking concepts for where and how our flexible and ultra-thin displays can change the way we interact with the world. Our core technology – the oTFT backplane that brings true flexibility to electronics – has also recently been demonstrated for other display types and even sensor arrays. Two recent examples (others in the pipeline) are the award-winning image sensor array developed in conjunction with ISORG to enable contactless/gesture control, and our fully organic flexible AMOLED display (which we recently announced and showed PE Europe show in Berlin).”
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.