Think you’ve seen it all? A device called the MagicScroll will change that.
Created by a research team at Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab in Canada, MagicScroll is being called the “world’s first rollable touch-screen tablet.” Inspired by ancient scrolls, the prototype features a 7.5-inch 2K flexible display rolled around a 3D-printed cylinder that houses the brains of the device.
Rotary wheels on either end of the cylinder let you scroll through information on the screen. The display can also be unrolled to function like a traditional tablet. The researchers say it’s “much easier to hold with one hand than an iPad,” and fits into a pocket when rolled up.
To see the MagicScroll in action, check out the video below.
“We were inspired by the design of ancient scrolls because their form allows for a more natural, uninterrupted experience of long visual timelines,” Human Media Lab Director Dr. Roel Vertegaal, a professor of human-computer interaction, said in a statement. “Another source of inspiration was the old rolodex filing systems that were used to store and browse contact cards.”
The design makes it easy to browse long lists and websites, he added.
“Unfolding the scroll is a tangible experience that gives a full screen view of the selected item,” Vertegaal said. “Picture browsing through your Instagram timeline, messages, or LinkedIn contacts this way!”
The researchers hope to evolve the design so it can roll into something as small as a pen, he said.
“More broadly, the MagicScroll project is also allowing us to further examine notions that ‘screens don’t have to be flat’ and ‘anything can become a screen,'” Vertegaal added. “Whether it’s a reusable cup made of an interactive screen on which you can select your order before arriving at a coffee-filling kiosk, or a display on your clothes, we’re exploring how objects can become the apps.”
Vertegaal and his team aren’t the only ones experimenting with rollable displays. At CES in 2016, LG showed off an OLED display that can be rolled up like a newspaper. This year, it showed off a 65-inch version.