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Future Tech: Foldable Gadgets?

Is it me, or does the mobile future look a little bendy? Two items caught my eye recently that suggest that flexible form factors could get some play someday.

Researchers at the Queen’s University in Canada and Arizona State University developed a paper phone, operable by bending the device in different ways and into various positions. These bendable gestures can be assigned to specific tasks or actions via software settings.

Could you imagine a big screen device that weighs almost nothing, and can roll up and fit in a pair of skinny jeans? That alone is enough to elicit excitement. Port the technology over to eBook readers, and things get even more interesting, since the tactile experience is what a lot of users miss about books. The paper phone even uses e-ink, like the Kindle, so there’s some commonality here.

The device only exists as a prototype right now, but the research team says it has functionality that can rival a regular smartphone. Check it out for yourself.

Then there’s the larger computing scene. Could you see yourself folding up your laptop like a burrito, to close and carry it? That’s what you’d get with The Feno concept design by Niels Van Hoof via Yanko Design.

Don’t expect this to show up in the Yanko Design store any time soon, though — at least not until research and development figures out how to prevent or flatten out the big crease that would inevitably form through the center. (And it’s not exactly like you could iron that puppy out.) But if some hardware wiz/genius display specialist could solve this issue, I bet some company could make a killing on this.

I mean. Holy smokes, just look at it:

These days, it seems like people don’t want to be bogged down while on the go, and yet they still want gadgets with increasingly bigger screens. So maybe, just maybe, ideas like these are the first step to satisfying both desires at once.

Could you see yourself sporting a paper phone like this? What about an origami-style laptop? There would practically be no limit to screen sizes then, right? Let us know if you think this vision of the mobile future is hot or not.

[via Geek.com, Yanko Design]

UPDATE: WIRED posted an interesting article of foldable OLED screens, so for more on where this type of tech could go, hit up the article here.


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Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...


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