A team of scientists from the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University Canada has came up with a concept of a smartphone having multiple displays that can be re-arranged and folded. Based on its functionality, the device has been named as PaperFold smartphone. A prototype with three different e-ink displays has been created which can be combined in different shapes based on the situation so that your long content gets distributed into different papers which can be folded and detached to view other parts of documents instead of scrolling the screens as we do in our conventional smartphone.


Director of Human Media Lab and professor of Queen’s University, Dr. Roel Vertegaal said “The development of electronic paper computers that can adopt similar qualities to paper has been an enduring research goal for our team. Books use folding as both a navigational and space saving technique, and paper maps have malleable display sizes. The PaperFold smartphone adopts folding techniques that makes paper so versatile, and employs them to change views or functionality of a smartphone, as well as alter its screen real estate in a flexible manner. PaperFold demonstrates how form could equal function in malleable mobile devices.”

You would surely be wondering as to how this concept would work? Well, the answer to this is its magnetic hinges that allows the smartphone to detect where the display have been removed so that it could automatically adjust the displays accordingly. Utility wise these displays can be used in notebook configuration where the top display shows content while the botoom one acts like a virtual keyboard. Users would even be able to explore Google Maps with the device where three display would be left flat open showing a map of an area just like a traditional paper map. On folding the displays, it would shift to Google Earth view in order to show 3D content.


In his further interview Dr. Vertegaal said “In PaperFold, each display tile can act independently or as part of a single system. It allows multiple device form factors, providing support for mobile tasks that require large screen real estate or keyboards on demand, while retaining an ultra-compact, ultra-thin and lightweight form factor.”

Human Media Lab has previously worked on a PaperPhone which is fully flexible as well as a flexible PaperTab.