Researchers from the Queen’s University Human Media Lab (HML) recently unveiled a new touch-screen tablet that rolls and scrolls.
Dr. Roel Vertegaal, along with Antonio Gomes, Lahiru Priyadarshana, Aaron Visser and Juan Carrascal comprised the HML team. Vertegaal directs the lab and is a professor of human-computer interaction.
The roll-up tablet, called the MagicScroll, sports a 7.5-inch 2K resolution flexible display that rolls around a 3D-printed cylinder. The cylinder contains the inner-workings of the device.
Furthermore, the device sports two rotary wheels on the end of the cylinders. Those wheels can twist and turn, allowing users to scroll through lists.
Additionally, users can unroll the display, turning the MagicScroll into a tablet-like device.
One example the researchers presented was using the roll-up tablet to scroll through a list of contacts — like a Rolodex, if you remember those. Once you find the contact you want, you can unroll the screen to send them a message. Alternatively, you can call the contact and hold the scroll to your ear like a phone.
The team also added gesture controls to the device, described as similar to Nintendo’s motion-controlled ‘Wiimote.’
The MagicScroll’s rotary wheels are motorized as well, allowing them to spin and move. The research team suggests that this can be used to notify users of an incoming call or text.
As cool as the MagicScroll is, don’t expect a Samsung Galaxy Scroll anytime soon.
Instead, the team views the project as an experiment with the idea that “anything can become a screen.”
The team is thinking about unique ways these screens can be used in the real world. One example is putting a screen on a reusable coffee cup that allows users to submit their order before arriving at the coffee shop.
Next, the team will look to condense the cylindrical portion of the device. The team hopes to condense it to about the size of a pen, making it easier to carry.
It’s a pretty neat idea. In my opinion, it’s more interesting than using a flexible display for a folding phone.