What if your phone/tablet/computer is suddenly paper-thin and flexible, and therefore can bend or fold? How about a device so thin and light that you wear on your arm rather than carry in your hand, and can transform into a digital notepad when flattened? No, this is not some gadget in a Sci-Fi movie you missed. This is PaperPhone, a prototype phone built collaboratively by Arizona State University's Flexible Display Center, Queen's University's Human Media Lab and the E Ink Corporation.
According to the Vancouver Sun's interview with Prof. Roel Vertegaal, the director of the lab, the ink in the screen, "is similar to what you find in the Kindle except this screen is flexible." Its display consists of a 3.74 inch (9.5 cm) diagonal thin film. The bendy display means when you want to make a call, you need to "squeeze the interactive paper, which has a layer that senses how it is being bent, and hold it to your ear."
Like any current smartphone, the PaperPhone can also play a tune, organize your contacts and record notes.
While it is way too early to tell what or if any part of this prototype will make it to your device "within five to 10 years" the prototype is sure to inspire new ways of interacting and designing future devices. Just imagine what your iPhone 4 will look like to your kids...