Meet ReFlex, A Revolutionary Full-Color, High-Definition, Bendable Smartphone

You'll only have to wait five years or so to get your hands on one of these, apparently! Human Media Lab/Queen's University

It’s a common, tragic situation: You leave your smartphone in your pocket, sit down a little too enthusiastically, and break the screen. Researchers at Queen’s University may have developed a solution to this expensive problem by developing the world’s first full-color, high-resolution flexible smartphone.

Named ReFlex, this smartphone can be bent – without breaking – in order to change the way the user interacts with apps on the screen. If you were reading an e-book, bending it to the right would turn the page; more extreme bends would speed up the page flips. The sensation of the page being turned can be felt by vibrations emanating from the phone, similar to the way that video game controllers vibrate at different strengths in order to make the on-screen action more immersive.



A voice coil within the device can also be used to generate incredibly small vibrations that can simulate friction. These complex vibration patterns mean that ReFlex can produce a highly realistic simulation of the real-life version of the object on screen.

“When a user plays the ‘Angry Birds’ game with ReFlex, they bend the screen to stretch the sling shot,” said Dr. Roel Vertegaal, coordinator of the ReFlex development and director of the Human Media Lab at Queen's University, in a statement. “As the rubber band expands, users experience vibrations that simulate those of a real stretching rubber band. When released, the band snaps, sending a jolt through the phone and sending the bird flying across the screen.”

The team thinks that it will only be five years before phones like ReFlex are available for sale, so until then, you'll just have to be slightly less clumsy.

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