Hear ye! Meet the new tablet that rolls-up like an ancient scroll

The slow crawl towards flexible displays that can fold or wrap have become a holy grail for tech futurists, but this new concept device has its inspiration rooted very much in history.

Researchers have created a prototype touchscreen tablet that rolls-ups up into a cylinder and can be unfurled like an ancient parchment.

Dubbed the MagicScroll, the prototype device from Queens University’s Human Media department, features a 7.5-inch touchscreen that sits neatly inside a housing.

Users can rotate the display using a physical rotary wheel on either end of the device, while there’s also a pop-out button to reveal the 2K resolution screen in all its glory.

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The partially 3D-printed device can also be used to make phone calls, even when the display is housed within the casing. There’s also a camera, while the motion sensors enable the MagicScroll to use gestures akin to Nintendo’s Wiimote. You can see it in action in the video below:

“We were inspired by the design of ancient scrolls because their form allows for a more natural, uninterrupted experience of long visual timelines,” explains Roel Vertegaal, professor of human-computer interaction and director of the lab (via TechCrunch)

“Another source of inspiration was the old rolodex filing systems that were used to store and browse contact cards. The MagicScroll’s scroll wheel allows for infinite scroll action for quick browsing through long lists. Unfolding the scroll is a tangible experience that gives a full screen view of the selected item. Picture browsing through your Instagram timeline, messages or LinkedIn contacts this way!

“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,” he added. “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.”

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