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Research Team to Develop Thin-Film Paper Computer

A research team at Queen’s University in Ontario and Canada has collaborated with an Arizona State University team to develop a thin-film flexible paper computer called PaperPhone. According to Roel Vertegaal who created it, the director of the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University, it is a flexible iPhone.

The device resembles a nano scale sheet of interactive paper in texture and functions. It can be bent into a cell phone. The corners can be flipped like the pages of a book, or written on with a pen. It was launched in Vancouver, Canada, at the Association of Computing Machinery’s CHI 2011 (Computer- Human Interaction) conference on May 10. Leaders of both the teams showcased its operational capabilities at the conference.

ASU’s prototype of the nano-sized Paperphone, an in interactive, mobile computing

The hardware for the device has been developed by Nicholas Colaneri, director of ASU’s Flexible Display Center, and Jann Kaminski, a display engineering manager at the center. The interactive system that recognizes user gestures for the PaperPhone has been designed by Byron Lahey, a postdoctoral student in ASU’s School of Arts, Media and Engineering, and Winslow Burleson, an assistant professor in the School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Rapid sensing and designing data were used to help develop and analyze a range of interactions on a mobile platform, according to Burleson, who led the Motivational Environments Research Group and also specializes in human-computer interaction. This enables natural bend gestures together with communication on the Paperphone display to view maps, contact lists, or music lists through a simulated book. According to Vertegaal, this development will result in lightweight and flexible communicative computing.

The device uses a 9.5cm diagonal thin-film flexible electronic ink display to function like a smartphone, stores books, plays music or works like a phone. The nanoscale device could be carried in a pocket. It stores and communicates with documents on larger computers, making paper and printers redundant in office environments. It also does not consume energy when not in use.



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