I’m a luddite when it comes to digital books; I love the feel of an actual novel in my hands. Reading a great book is an experience, and physically holding it is part of that experience for me that I just can’t get with an e-reader. However, it looks like technology is getting closer to replicating that tangible sensation of a real book, with a flexible phone that lets you “flip” through the pages.
This phone, from Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab, is appropriately called ReFlex, and they say it is “the world’s first full-colour, high-resolution and wireless flexible smartphone to combine multitouch with bend input.” Not only can you rifle through the “pages” of the book at various speeds, it even creates “physical tactile feedback” as a result of a “detailed vibration” on the phone. Which means not only do you get the visual experience of flipping the pages, you actually feel and hear them as well.
This technology can also be used to play a game like Angry Birds, where you’d be able to really slingshot the birds. “As the rubber band expands, users experience vibrations that simulate those of a real stretching rubber band. When released, the band snaps, sending a jolt through the phone and sending the bird flying across the screen.” Oh good, I was afraid an awesome new technology wouldn’t also help me waste time.
As for the phone itself, it is a “high definition 720p LG Display Flexible OLED touch screen powered by an Android 4.4 ‘KitKat’ board mounted to the side of the display.” However, they don’t think consumers will have flexible smartphones for another five years. So we’ll just have to deal with wasting time the old-fashioned boring way.
So what do you think? Would you be more likely to read a book on your phone if you could “flip” through the pages? Tell us in the comments below.
Image: Human Media Lab