Design Engineering

Queen’s researchers to unroll paper-thin smart phone

By Design Engineering Staff   

General design Innovation PaperPhone Queens University

Flexible PaperPhone prototype features E-Ink technology with bend sensor interface.

Kingston, Ontario – If smart phones such as the iPhone, Blackberrys and Android devices are still a little too bulky for your liking, researchers at Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab may have a solution.

The multi-disciplinary research group is set to unveil a smartphone prototype, called PaperPhone, at the Association of Computing Machinery’s CHI 2011 conference in Vancouver on May 10. Described as a flexible iPhone, the ultra-thin device consists of a 9.5 cm diagonal thin film flexible E Ink display with the same functionality (run apps, play music or make phone calls) as its heftier brethren.

“This is the future. Everything is going to look and feel like this within five years,” said creator Roel Vertegaal, the director of Queen’s University Human Media Lab. “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.”

At the May 10 conference, the research group will also demonstrate a thinfilm wristband computer called Snaplet and publish an article on interactive use of bending with flexible thinfilm computers.


The development team included researchers Byron Lahey and Win Burleson of the Motivational Environments Research Group at Arizona State University (ASU), Audrey Girouard and Aneesh Tarun from the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University, Jann Kaminski and Nick Colaneri, director of ASU’s Flexible Display Center, and Seth Bishop and Michael McCreary, the VP R&D of E Ink Corporation.


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