A paper-thin flexible tablet computer

Plastic Logic/Queen’s University
Plastic Logic/Queen’s University

A flexible paper computer developed at Queen’s University in collaboration with Plastic Logic and Intel Labs could one day revolutionize the way people work with tablets and computers.

The PaperTab tablet looks and feels just like a sheet of paper. However, it is fully interactive with a flexible, high-resolution 10.7” plastic display developed by Plastic Logic, a flexible touchscreen, and powered by the second generation Intel Core i5 Processor.

Instead of using several apps or windows on a single display, users have ten or more interactive displays or “PaperTabs”: one per app in use.

“Using several PaperTabs makes it much easier to work with multiple documents,” says Roel Vertegaal, Director of Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab. “Within five to ten years, most computers, from ultra-notebooks to tablets, will look and feel just like these sheets of printed color paper.”

For example, PaperTab’s intuitive interface allows a user to send a photo simply by tapping one PaperTab showing a draft email with another PaperTab showing the photo. The photo is then automatically attached to the draft email. The email is sent either by placing the PaperTab in an out tray, or by bending the top corner of the display.

Similarly, a larger drawing or display surface is created simply by placing two or more PaperTabs side by side. PaperTab thus emulates the natural handling of multiple sheets of paper by combining thin-film display, thin-film input and computing technologies through intuitive interaction design.

PaperTab can file and display thousands of paper documents, replacing the need for a computer monitor and stacks of papers or printouts. Unlike traditional tablets, PaperTabs keep track of their location relative to each other, and the user, providing a seamless experience across all apps, as if they were physical computer windows.

For example, when a PaperTab is placed outside of reaching distance it reverts to a thumbnail overview of a document, just like icons on a computer desktop. When picked up or touched a PaperTab switches back to a full screen page view, just like opening a window on a computer.

PaperTabs are lightweight and robust, so they can easily be tossed around on a desk while providing a magazine-like reading experience. By bending one side of the display, users can also navigate through pages like a magazine, without needing to press a button.

Plastic Logic and the Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab unveiled PaperLab at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2013) in Las Vegas on January 8.


I don't see the benefit, but I'm sure I will in a few years. lol

I don't see the point in working with multiple flexible displays to visually reproduce individual documents.
Its as if we are returning back to papers.
Isn't the whole point of a computer to have a vast depository of information/knowledge/data in just tiny amount of space and retrieve the info on demand?
I mean, computers helped us REDUCE (and we could downright eliminate) paper usage significantly.

Wouldn't it be easier to simply project multiple documents via interactive holographic projection from just 1 device (such as a wrist watch sized one or something else) instead of wasting materials to make multiple 'papers'?
We already have the necessary technology to do it.
Superior synthetic materials such as carbon nanotubes and synthetic diamonds could have been used for this purpose by the year 2000 and would have already produced atom sized computers in the conventional sense, and quite likely quantum computers in a ridiculously small form factor that would outpace even first-generation quantum computers that Capitalist market is projecting in about 10 years.
It would have resulted in light-years superior computer technology (if we actually made it to reflect latest scientific knowledge).

In short... using these to work on multiple documents seems silly and a waste of space.
Sure, each paper thin display would be able to store large amounts of data, but again, the holographic display/projection would be superior in that regard.

whats the point of having a tablet with cordes??? these are the things that I dont understand.

That too (cords) is what puzzles me as well.
Then again, I think the purpose is connection to a power outlet or data transfer (which seems idiotic in the face of wifi data and power transmission technology that existed since the late 19th century).