Thursday 25 April 2019

Flexible smartphone lets you flick through ebooks


Emma Clark

Researchers have developed an incredibly flexible smartphone that can allow users to flick through ebooks, controlling the flow of pages based on pressure.

Queen's University researchers have developed a flexible smartphone, the ReFlex, that we imagine is the perfect way virtually thumb through an ebook.

The ReFlex features a full-colour, high-resolution display and is capable of flexing a significant amount without snapping. The prototype features a 720p LG Display Flexible OLED touchscreen and runs Android 4.4 KitKat software.

It's interesting technology; the bend sensors on the back of the display measure how hard you're bending and different apps react to this pressure in different ways. You can skim through a book, for example, or carefully pull back the catapult in Angry Birds.

Director of the Human Media Lab at Queen's University, Roel Vertegaal, said, "This represents a completely new way of physical interaction with flexible smartphones."

"When a user plays the Angry Birds game with ReFlex, they bend the screen to stretch the sling shot. As the rubber band expands, users experience vibrations that simulate those of a real stretching rubber band. When released, the band snaps, sending a jolt through the phone and sending the bird flying across the screen."

Vertegaal added that this system allows for "the most accurate physical simulation of interacting with virtual data possible on a smartphone today."

It may be some time before we get our hands on truly flexible phones, but the technology is progressing nicely. Take a look at the video below to see it in action and see what uses it may have in the future.

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