RollTop Laptop – Answering Yesterday’s Laptop Design Shortcomings


What could we do if we had flexible display materials? As advanced as the tech seems, it still might not fly because the rolled up size still seem too big when one thinks about how small and thin and light-weight the Apple Macbook Air, the Sony Vaio X- and P-series and the various netbooks already are. Flexible display materials are just beginning to show up, but there’s something in this design that’s answering problems from when the smallest usable laptops were the 15-inch/6-pound devices. Rolling up said 15-inch devices is still going to be at least 13-inches long and a rolled up girth of four-inches diameter. That’s awfully big when one considers that a lot of people are happy using an iPhone-sized device to do a lot of their communication/computer tasks.


It really comes down to current limitations in the HCI (Human/Computer Interface) area, specifically finding the best ways to get information into and out of these devices. We are limited by the size of the displays we find useful and the size of the keyboard. All of this would radically change should we find a projection technology that presents the visual feedback via a glasses based heads-up-display (HUD), or maybe projects the image right into the eye(s) of the user. As for keyboard/mouse input, there are already projection devices being developed, but what if a virtual reality overlay technology were included in the HUD display being projected into the glasses/eyes so that one would see a virtual keyboard attached to any user-selected flat surface. Of course, if voice-recognition were really functional than the keyboard would be just a secondary editing device used more for error correction than composition. Thus with some combination of VR/HUD and voice recognition the actual computer hardware might easily be the size of an iPhone (CPU, memory, battery, communications links) that never leaves ones pocket. And if/when the input/output become neural with direct links to the brain’s visual and language centers (the wiring harness discretely hidden in a stylish hat, of course), than the hardware might be the size of a piece of jewelry like the Star Trek Next Generation communicator badges. This may all seem very far fetched, but it’s really no more far fetched than having flexible display materials that can be rolled up into a tube.

Sources:
YouTube: Future Designer laptop – ROLLTOP //Diploma Thesis// posted by orkinful, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H0K1k54t6A retrieved on 11/01/2009.
Thanks to CK for sending me a copy of the video 🙂