The PaperPhone unveiled in Vancouver

Mobile phones are getting thinner and flexible.

It’s not a far stretch to see mobile phones go on a strict diet, as the PaperPhone was unveiled yesterday at the CHI 2010 (Computer Human Interaction) conference in Vancouver. This smartphone prototype is often referred as the flexible iPhone and it doesn’t lack the specs of a regular mobile phone. You can make calls, browse the Internet, read books, play music, use apps, etc.   

Roel Vertegaal, director of Queen’s University Human Media Lab, was inspired for this project, as he believes “the form factor of current cell phones is kind of cumbersome” with regards to the breakability factor, thickness, and weight.  A thin phone like this one may seem delicate but you can beat it with a hammer and it won’t be destroyed. You can also bend the phone but can’t fold a crease down the middle of the device.  The phone consists of a 9.5 cm diagonal thin film flexible E-Ink display. As an iPhone uses human touch to navigate through different tasks, the PaperPhone uses ‘bend gestures’ to command an action.  Essentially, you must bend the phone in order to trigger an action like playing a tune or placing a phone call. Check out this video to see how to use the PaperPhone:

With Apple impressing the world with a thinner iPad than the original, Vertegaal believes that it won’t be long before we see a PaperPhone on the market.  He says it could take about 5-10 years depending on the investment received and the readiness of the marketplace.  Right now, the cost to produce additional prototypes is approximately $7,000.  

When the PaperPhone is available (and competitively priced) would you buy one?

The PaperPhone will be in display at the CHI conference until Thursday, May 12th. If you are in Vancouver and attending the conference, definitely check it out.