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Engineering Materials
Flexible Tablet Prototype Is Electronic Paper
1/22/2013

The PaperTab flexible tablet PC splits a tablet's windows into separate sheets of user-editable electronic paper that store a lot of data and communicate with one another. (Source: Human Media Lab, Queen's University)
The PaperTab flexible tablet PC splits a tablet's windows into separate sheets of user-editable electronic paper that store a lot of data and communicate with one another.
(Source: Human Media Lab, Queen's University)

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Elizabeth M
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Re: I think I'm going to need a bigger desk
Elizabeth M   1/23/2013 6:58:35 AM
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Happy to see I'm not the only one confused by the value of this technology...again, it's probably why it's a prototype! Maybe feedback will convince the company to change the design a bit or come up with more of a value proposition. I think it was certainly worthwhile for Ann to cover, though, as it has us all scratching our heads over it! And it shows people thinking of new ways to extend the function of tablets, which are quickly becoming ubiquitous.

Jennifer Campbell
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Re: I think I'm going to need a bigger desk
Jennifer Campbell   1/22/2013 8:59:44 PM
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Ann, forgive me if I missed this in the article, but if this went into production and I wanted to buy one, would I be able to choose how many PaperTabs I wanted or is there a set amount? Does it come with a certain number and then you can add to it? Or, am getting ahead of myself here?

This devices seems like a bit of a stretch, considering toggling screens in a regular tablet (iPad, etc.) is fairly simple. Isn't the point of a tablet the portability factor? Am I missing something?

Charles Murray
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Re: I think I'm going to need a bigger desk
Charles Murray   1/22/2013 8:18:55 PM
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I agree, Elizabeth. It seems complicated. I'm sure there are advantages to this set-up, but I'm not sure I understand what they are.

mrdon
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Re: Wireless?
mrdon   1/22/2013 6:26:32 PM
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tekochip, I agree. Paper Tab is a practical device but the tethered cables need to be replaced with a wireless interface.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Flexible Tablet Prototype
Ann R. Thryft   1/22/2013 4:20:41 PM
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Al, the possible lack of connector strength is a really good point. We've seen several issues before with lack of connector strength. I would guess that the issues described in this article on mobile medical connectors would be equally applicable here:
http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?section_id=1386&doc_id=255424

apresher
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Flexible Tablet Prototype
apresher   1/22/2013 4:06:09 PM
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Thanks, Ann.  The technology is definitely interesting but between the flexible tablet and connector interfaces, I guess I'm somewhat skeptical it will emerge given the competition already in the marketplace. Thanks.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Flexible Tablet Prototype
Ann R. Thryft   1/22/2013 4:03:23 PM
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Good question, Al. E-paper display technologies have been around for several years, at least in a prototype stage like this one. The flexible plastic display substrates and flexible plastic electronics are surprisingly sturdy, from what I saw years back when covering the subject. Some are being used now in flexible sports and health monitoring "watches", which sounds like at least some of these materials must be pretty rugged.

NiteOwl_OvO
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Re: Flexible Tablet Prototype
NiteOwl_OvO   1/22/2013 3:06:25 PM
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I wonder if they would survive the dropped stapler test? It's an interesting technology. It looks like they've put quite a bit of thought into it. The ability to transfer data from one page to another by touching them together is cool. Unfortunately, I don't see these helping most people get their work done. I would like to see a Pen computer with a roll-up screen. Something about the size of a Sharpie with a touch screen that is semi-rigid when unrolled. Maybe someday soon.

Elizabeth M
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Re: I think I'm going to need a bigger desk
Elizabeth M   1/22/2013 1:32:52 PM
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OK, so I watched the video and this still seems rather complicated! Maybe it's just something you have to use to understand...still seems like there is a little bit too much of a "paper" trail for this to be practical...but that's just an opinion! It is just a prototype, after all, so perhaps it will be a bit more streamlined by the time it's ready for commercial release. Still quite interesting to see what's being hatched by clever minds!

Elizabeth M
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Re: I think I'm going to need a bigger desk
Elizabeth M   1/22/2013 1:09:54 PM
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Ah, OK, Ann, I will take your advice! It did seem like a difficult thing to describe but you did a very good job of it anyway. Still sounds quite intriguing; I am sure the video will answer my remaining questions.

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