The Queen’s University Human Media Lab revealed a new device today called the MagicScroll – a rollable touch-screen tablet designed “to capture the seamless flexible screen real estate of ancient scrolls in a modern-day device.”
The MagicScroll features a high-resolution, 7.5” 2K resolution flexible display that can be rolled or unrolled around a 3D-printed cylinder that contains its computer.
“Two rotary wheels at either end of the cylinder allow the user to scroll through information on the touch screen,” states a university release. “When a user narrows in on an interesting piece of content that they would like to examine more deeply, the display can be unrolled and function as a tablet display. Its light weight and cylindrical body makes it much easier to hold with one hand than an iPad. When rolled up, it fits your pocket and can be used as a phone, dictation device or pointing device.”
Dr. Vertegaal, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction and Director of the Queen’s University Human Media Lab, said his team was inspired by the design of ancient scrolls as their form “allows for a more natural, uninterrupted experience of long visual timelines.”
The old rolodex filing systems – used to store and flip through contact cards – was another inspiration. As can be seen in the provided video (below), the MagicScroll’s scroll wheel lets users infinitely scroll through long lists for quick browsing and then unfolded to get a fuller screen view of a selected item.
Also featured in the MagicScroll prototype is a camera that turns the rolled up unit into a gesture-based control device, similar to a Nintendo Wii controller. Its rotary wheels also contain robotic actuators that enable the scroll to physically move or spin in place, possibly to notify a user of incoming email or other prompts.
“Eventually, our hope is to design the device so that it can even roll into something as small as a pen that you could carry in your shirt pocket,” said Dr. Vertegaal in the release. “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’. 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.”
Dr. Vertegaal’s Human Media Lab collaborator Juan Pablo Carrascal will be presenting MagicScroll at MobileHCI, a prominent international conferences on Human-Computer Interaction with mobile devices and services, in Barcelona, Spain on September 4, 2018.
About the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University
The Human Media Lab (HML) at Queen’s University is one of Canada’s premier Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) laboratories. Its best known inventions include the Attention-aware Smartphone, Animojis (both featured in Apple’s iPhone X); PaperPhone, the world’s first flexible phone; PaperTab, the world’s first paper computer and TeleHuman2, the world’s first truly holographic teleconferencing system. HML is directed by Dr. Roel Vertegaal, Professor of HCI at Queen’s University’s School of Computing. Working with him are a number of graduate and undergraduate students in engineering, design and psychology.