ReFlex demo shows how we might interact with a bendable smartphone
We’re finally on the cusp of a new era for phone design, with the first commercial handsets featuring bendable, fully fordable screens (and not merely flexible or shatter-proof) ready to launch in matter of months, not years. Understandably, a big form factor change like that is going to mean a period of adjustment, and beyond simply giving us the flexibility (no pun intended) to fold our phones up for storage, bendable screens could deliver new ways to interact with smartphone software. Now a new video from the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University in Canada gives us a look at how such input might work, with its in-house flexible ReFlex handset.
ReFlex is pretty straightforward device, with a circuit board running Android KitKat attached to a flexible LG OLED panel, connected to bend sensors and tactile response motors. The end result is that users can bend the phone’s screen to perform actions like flipping through pages of a document, or even interacting with a game – though we’re curious just how much custom code might be necessary here to get that level of software support.
To be fair, there’s no assurance that Samsung’s folding phone will work in the same way, or offer any degree of bend-type input at all – maybe it will perform just like a regular flat-screened phone, only with a screen you can bend. But there’s a lot of potential here for devs to come up with some smart new ways for us to interface with our handsets, and we’re anxious to see what teams like this and others are able to come up with as this tech finally starts going mainstream.