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Researchers at queen’s university’s human media lab have developed a full-color, high resolution flexible smartphone to combine multitouch with bend inputs. The device, which they have named ‘ReFlex’, allows users to experience physical tactile feedback when interacting with their apps through bend gestures.
‘ReFlex’ is based on a 720p LG display flexible OLED touch screen powered by an android 4.4 ‘Kitkat’ software board mounted to the side of the display. bend sensors behind the display detect the force with which an user bends the screen, which is made available to apps for use as input.
It also features a voice coil that allows the phone to simulate forces and friction through highly detailed vibrations of the display. Combined with the passive force feedback felt when bending the display, this allows for a highly realistic simulation of physical forces when interacting with virtual objects.
“This represents a completely new way of physical interaction with flexible smartphones” says Roel Vertegaal (School of Computing), director of the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University.
“When this smartphone is bent down on the right, pages flip through the fingers from right to left, just like they would in a book. More extreme bends speed up the page flips. Users can feel the sensation of the page moving through their fingertips via a detailed vibration of the phone. This allows eyes-free navigation, making it easier for users to keep track of where they are in a document.”