The tablet in question has been showcased earlier this month during the MobileHCI 2018 conference that took place in Barcelona and it basically is a cylinder from which you can unroll, well… a tablet screen.
The MagicScroll, as it has been dubbed, is the brainchild of researchers from Queen’s University in Ontario and, since it is just a prototype, it cannot do much, but it does give us an idea of what to expect from foldable displays in the future, and also sets a foundation on which the researchers can keep working.
The cylinder has magnetic rotary encoders on its ends, which allow for scrolling and the display can be pulled to reveal more information, much like smartphones move content around when switching from landscape mode into portrait. The MagicScroll allows users not only to use it as a tablet but also to access apps and make calls.
Credit: Human Media Lab / YouTube
The device has a .75-inch, 2160 x 1920 flexible OLED display with multitouch. Inside the cylinder chamber there are two Android circuit boards that run on Android 5.1 Lollipop, three lithium-ion batteries and other components not so different from those you can find in smartphones.
“Eventually, our hope is to design the device so that it can even roll into something as small as a pen that you could carry in your shirt pocket,” says Dr. Vertegaal, Human Media Lab collaborator “More broadly, the MagicScroll project is also allowing us to further examine notions that ‘screens don’t have to be flat’ and ‘anything can become a screen’. Whether it’s a reusable cup made of an interactive screen on which you can select your order before arriving at a coffee-filling kiosk, or a display on your clothes, we’re exploring how objects can become the apps.”
It’s not much to go on at the moment, but definitely more than anything else we’ve had recently. What do you think?