For the first time in history, scientists have developed a rollable touch-screen tablet – taking inspiration from ancient scrolls to create a modern-day device. The device which is named as MagicScroll is equipped with a high-resolution flexible display that can be rolled or unrolled around a central, 3D-printed cylindrical body containing the device’s computerized inner-workings. The device is built by research scientists at Queen’s University Human Media Lab.

Two rotating wheels placed at the end of the cylinder let the user scroll through information on the touchscreen. When a user narrows in on an exciting piece of content that they would like to examine more intensely, at that time the display can be unrolled and perform as a tablet display.

The device can be easily held in one hand because of its lightweight and cylindrical body. It can be fit in your pocket when it is rolled up and can be used as a phone, dictation device or pointing device.

“The ancient design of scrolls inspired us because their form allows for a more natural, uninterrupted experience of long visual timelines,” said Roel Vertegaal, a professor at the Queen’s University in Canada.

One of its amazing features is it allows for infinite scroll action for quick browsing through long lists.

“Unfolding the scroll is a tangible experience that offers a full-screen view of the selected item. Picture browsing through your Instagram timeline, messages or LinkedIn contacts this way,” Vertegaal informed.

Also with many impressive features, the prototype also features a camera that allows users to employ the rolled-up MagicScroll as a gesture-based control device — similar to that of Nintendo’s ‘Wiimote.’

The team has made a video showcasing the prototype in action (embedded below), and will be demonstrating the project at the MobileHCI conference on Human-Computer Interaction in Barcelona next month.


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