Is Flat the Next Big Thing?

The Human Media Lab at Queen's University, Canada and Arizona State University's Motivational Environments Research group have teamed up to create what’s been dubbed the “PaperPhone”. The phone was created with the same e-ink technology found in the Kindle e-book reader and flexible printed circuits featuring an array of bend sensors.

Although called the “PaperPhone”, the name doesn’t quite do the prototype justice. “SmartPaperPhone” may be more fitting. The device can perform several tasks, depending on what shape you form it into. Want to make a phone call? Bend the paper into a concave shape. Have a favorite e-book? Bend the page corner to turn to the next page. You’ll even have an mp3 player that’s much thinner than your current iPod.

While this technology is very exciting, there are some issues. Batteries are still fairly clunky and won’t easily bend. The memory has to be kept somewhere as well. What good is a flexible electronic paper phone if most of is has to stay stationary to accommodate the required working innards?

Like anything else, these technologies are evolving and buying a ream of cell phones at your local big-box retailer may not be that far off.

Learn more about the technology here: