A smartphone that is truly bendable may be coming sooner than expected. According to a report by Android Headlines, a team of researchers at Queen's University's Human Media Lab have been working on a prototype of what appears to be the world's first real flexible smartphone. The device, which is made to be controlled with bending movements, is dubbed as the ReFlex.
Fortune detailed that the team from Canada featured a lightweight prototype of the device at the Tangible Embedded and Embodied Interaction conference held in The Netherlands. It flaunted its features including giving readers the ability to quickly thumb through e-books by bending the device. Upon bending, the book will flip. The more the user bends the ReFlex, the faster the book will flip.
It was also demonstrated how it could be used with games like Angry Birds. With a bendable phone, players can slightly bend their screens to use like a slingshot with vibrations through the voice-coil haptic motors. It makes the device feel like a ricocheting rubber band.
And as noted in Engadget, Queens Media Lab director Roel Vertegaal said that the haptics also permit "eyes-free navigation, making it easier for users to keep track of where [you] are in a document." The device is also shatterproof. The team built the prototype with a 720p flexible LG OLED display. But instead of using glass, the phone screen is made of plastic which makes it more durable and lightweight. It is powered with an Android 4.4 operating system and comes with custom drivers which are positioned in the non-flexible portion beside the display.
What makes the device different from those flexible phones created by smartphone manufacturers like Samsung and LG is that the ReFlex is the first to utilize its curves for control. "This represents a completely new way of physical interaction with flexible smartphones," says Vertegaal as noted in Australia Network. As of now, the team is targeting to make the device available within five years.