2023 Author: Bryan Walter | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 22:24
Canadian engineers have created a tablet with a flexible screen that wraps around a cylindrical body. It can be controlled by pressing and gestures on the touch screen, using rotating wheels installed at the ends of the device, as well as using gestures by the device itself. The developers have created an interface for the tablet that adapts when the screen is unfastened from the cylindrical body. The prototype of the device will be presented at the MobileHCI 18 conference.
Many manufacturers of screens for smartphones and tablets have been demonstrating prototypes of bendable and even stretchable screens for several years, but in serial devices they are still used in a static form, for example, to create smartphones with a curved display at the edges. The main problem hindering the proliferation of flexible screens is low bending reliability. In addition, so far engineers are only developing various ways to use screen bends to control the device, as well as ways to adapt the interface to changing the shape of the screen.
A team of engineers led by Roel Vertegaal of the Human Media Lab at Queen's University in Kingston has been working on prototypes and controls for curved screens for years. For example, in 2016, they created two flexible screens, one of which allows you to flip through books by bending the screen in different directions, and the second can be used to control the sound of a virtual musical instrument.
Now engineers have created a device that is a cylinder with a flexible 7.5-inch screen fixed on one side, which the developers assembled from two 5.5-inch screens from LG G Flex 2 smartphones. Engineers have developed an Android application that shares everything the displayed image into two parts and displays them on both screens so that they form a single screen.
Inside the cylindrical body are control boards and lithium-ion batteries, as well as magnets for attaching the screen. At the ends of the device, engineers installed two wheels with electric motors, which can be used as an input and output device. In addition, a flexure sensor is attached to the screens, allowing the system to determine which position the screen is in.
The developers have incorporated several unusual control schemes into the device. Usually the user is expected to use it as a scroll and expand the screen when he needs to see more information. For example, in a map application, this way you can open panoramas of the area. The engineers suggest using the wheels on the ends of the device for scrolling through lists, as well as vibration actuators, which, with their movement, will notify the user about notifications, and can also rotate the screen if the tablet is on the table.
In addition, the authors taught the device to recognize gestures, for example, swing up or turn 90 degrees, tied to certain actions in the operating system interface. So far, the engineers have not managed to implement this function on the device itself, which is why it has to send the readings of the accelerometer and gyroscope to a third-party computer, on which the machine learning algorithm determines the gesture.
Previously, engineers from Human Media Lab presented a controller with a cylindrical screen that tracks movements and adjusts images to them, thereby creating the illusion that there is a real object inside it. In addition, specialists from this laboratory have created several devices with a light field screen. They originally created a foldable smartphone with such a screen, and recently introduced a much larger screen that can be used for realistic video conferencing.