Users can write on, bend or use the device as a touchscreen, claim researchers
Researchers in Canada have demonstrated an interactive electronic paper that works like a smartphone.
The PaperPhone, which features a touchscreen, can be bent and written on. It is the result of a collaboration between researchers at the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University, Canada and Arizona State University’s Motivational Environments Research group.
Queen’s University director of the human media lab Roel Vertegaal has called the invention the future of mobile technology.
"This is the future", said Vertegaal. "Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years."
"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," said Vertegaal.
The gadget is just millimetres thick, but performs like bigger smartphones, say the researchers. The PaperPhone can be used to make phone calls, read ebooks or play music.
The researchers also say that the technology could mark the end of the era of paper and printers.
Vertegaal said, "The paperless office is here. Everything can be stored digitally and you can place these computers on top of each other, just like a stack of paper."
The PaperPhone prototype will be on display on 10 May at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Vancouver, where the researchers will also display another device called the Snaplet, which works as a watch, a PDA and a phone when bent differently.