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The iPad with a twist: Revolutionary 'paper' tablet unveiled - and it could replace your laptop within five years



By Mark Prigg

A revolutionary new tablet screen the thickness of a sheet of paper that can be twisted and dropped without damage has been revealed.

Developed by Queen’s University in Canada in collaboration with Plastic Logic and Intel Labs, it could lead to revolutionary new gadgets that are virtually unbreakable - and as thin as a piece of paper.

The firm behind the screen has even shown off a radical new version of the office desk - with sheets of paper instead of screens.

 It plans to launch the screen later this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

It has also shown off a concept for a new desktop - using sheets of paper for each app rather tahn a traditional screen with windows.

Instead of using several apps or windows on a single display, users have ten or more interactive displays or 'PaperTabs', with each being a different app.

They can also be used as e-books, with users simply bending the screen to turn pages.

'Using several PaperTabs makes it much easier to work with multiple documents,' says Roel Vertegaal, Director of Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab.

For example, PaperTab allows a user to send a photo simply by tapping one PaperTab showing a draft email with another PaperTab showing the photo.

The photo is then automatically attached to the draft email.

The email is sent either by placing the PaperTab in an out tray, or by bending the top corner of the display.

Similarly, a larger drawing or display surface is created simply by placing two or more PaperTabs side by side.

It is claimed the technology could eventually replace traditional screen altogether.

'Within five to ten years, most computers, from ultra-notebooks to tablets, will look and feel just like these sheets of printed color paper,' said Mr Vertegaal.

The developers claim it could even replace paper altogether.

'PaperTab can file and display thousands of paper documents, replacing the need for a computer monitor and stacks of papers or printouts,' it said.

'Unlike traditional tablets, PaperTabs keep track of their location relative to each other, and the user, providing a seamless experience across all apps, as if they were physical computer windows.

'For example, when a PaperTab is placed outside of reaching distance it reverts to a thumbnail overview of a document, just like icons on a computer desktop.

'When picked up or touched a PaperTab switches back to a full screen page view, just like opening a window on a computer.

 The prototype PaperTab set to be shown off at CES later this week looks and feels just like a sheet of paper, the firm says.

However, it is fully interactive with a flexible, high-resolution 10.7” plastic display developed by Plastic Logic, a flexible touchscreen, and powered by the second generation Intel® CoreTM i5 Processor.

'Plastic Logic’s flexible plastic displays are completely transformational in terms of product interaction.

'They allow a natural human interaction with electronic paper, being lighter, thinner and more robust compared with today’s standard glass-based displays.

'This is just one example of the innovative revolutionary design approaches enabled by flexible displays,' said Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Plastic Logic.

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