The Canadian scientists have unveiled the world’s first revolutionary bendable smartphone. This hi-tech device called ‘ReFlex’ is currently a prototype and is built to bend and vibrate, providing the user a better sense of reality and third dimensions while reading, playing games, driving and much more.
The researchers working in Human Media Lab at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada released a short video showing the incredible abilities of their phone. The phone can be bent completely from the middle and is completely shatter proof as the display is made up of plastic instead of a glass means you will not have to worry about breaking your phone screen if dropped.
The phone is wireless, unlike other flexible prototype phones out there. The bending technology adds some impressive functionality to the phone like while reading an e-book instead of swiping you can bend your phone outwards to flip the pages forward and similarly inwards to flip the pages back just like you do while reading an actual book. There is a very detailed vibrating sensor embedded in the phone which provides haptic feedback and very detailed vibrations, so the user can feel the pages flipping on fingers while moving through the book.
The ReFlex also has a voice coil motor which makes you feel the vibrations and virtual movements precisely. These two sensors combined, produce the tiniest amount of vibrations which increases the capability of the phone to behave like real objects.
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This technology is also applicable in games like you can play angry birds by bending your phone screen which will stretch out the catapult and then snap the bird forward, the sensors will provide actual rubber band stretching and snapping sensations.
As the researchers say:
“It allows the phone to simulate forces and friction through highly detailed vibrations of the display. Combined with the passive force feedback felt when bending the display, this allows for a highly realistic simulation of physical forces when interacting with virtual objects.”
This device is Android based and is powered by Android 4.4 KitKat with custom drivers mounted on the non flexible part beside the display. The screen resolution is 1280 X 720 HD which is slightly worse than the iPhone 6 at 1344 X 750. It was inspired by the LG’s OLED Display.
The Head of the Human Media Lab, Roel Vertegaal says that the phone is not gonna hit the market soon, it is just a prototype and we could see the technology reach the consumers with in a few years.
The Queen’s scientists will showcase the ReFlex prototype at the tenth anniversary Conference on Tangible Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI) conference in Eindhoven, Netherlands. This research is supported by Immersion Canada, Inc. and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).
Based on the convincing prototype, it looks like that the phone will arrive any time soon. This is not the first time that any organization has tried developing a bendable display. Nokia first announced its bendable phone project back in 2011 which never made up to the market, Samsung and LG have also developed bendable phones and displays but they are all wireless and can not be used commercially.