The motivational environments research group collaborated with Queens University's human media Lab to advance the state-of-the-art of human computer interaction in the context of flexible displays. In close collaboration with ASU's flexible display Center we created two first-of-a-kind consumer electronic prototypes snaplet and paperphone, using fully functional flexable displays.
With recent advances in flexible displays, computer displays are no longer restricted to flat, rigid form factors. In this paper, we propose that the physical form of a flexible display, depending on the way it is held or worn, can help shape its current functionality. Flexible displays can also potentially allow for interaction styles that resemble those used in paper documents. We introduce two closely related mobile computing devices based on the emerging technology of flexible displays. Snaplet is a wearable flexible E Ink display augmented with sensors that allow the shape of the display to be detected. When convexly formed around the wrist, Snaplet functions as a watch and media player. When held flat in the hand, it works as a PDA with notepad functionality. When held in a concave shape, it functions as a phone. PaperPhone is a super-thin, flexible version of a traditional smart phone. Using the second device, PaperPhone, we evaluate the effectiveness of various bend gestures for executing a set of tasks with a flexible display. We discuss a study in which users designed specific bend gestures for common computing actions deployed on PaperPhone. In this study we found that users prefer bend gestures that are conceptually simpler (e.g., along one axis, and not physically demanding). There was a strong agreement among participants to use the same three pairs in applications: (1) side of display, up/down (2) top corner, up/down (3) bottom corner, up/down. For actions with a strong directional cue, we found strong consensus on the polarity of the bend gestures (e.g., navigating left is performed with an upwards bend gesture, navigating right, downwards). This study shows that bend gestures that take directional cues into account are likely more natural to users.
Lahey, B., Girouard, A., Burleson, W., Vertegaal, R. (2011) PaperPhone: Understanding the Use of Bend Gestures in Mobile Devices with Flexible Electronic Paper Displays, CHI 2011 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Vancouver, Canada, May, 2011.
BBC News Technology, Willow Glass, June 5, 2012.
YouTube, Paper Computer Shows Flexible Future for Smartphones, 1.9M views since May 2011.
CNET, Is your iPhone Obsolete? Meet PaperPhone, May 7, 2011.
New Scientist, Bend a Flexible Smartphone to Make a Call, May 5, 2011.
ZD Net, Thin, Flexible Smartphone Bends the Rules of Input, May 4, 2011.