Flexible screen and tablet tech captivates in Vegas

A prototype for a tablet as flexible and thin as a sheet of paper and innovative flexible OLED display technology wowed at CES

16 Jan 2013


We saw everything from forks that monitor how much we're eating to bath-friendly phones at CES 2013, but flexible screen and tablet technology was among the hippest, most far-out technologies to emerge from our sojourn to Sin City.

Paper Tab

A prototype for a tablet as flexible and thin as a sheet of paper from Intel and university boffins, and innovative flexible OLED display technology from Samsung left us rubbing our eyes in disbelief.

The result of research from Intel and Queen's University in Canada, the PaperTab is an actual working tablet that is as thin as a sheet of paper. Powered by an Intel i5 processor, the tablet features a 10.7inch screen. Its ultra-thin, ultra-flexible design really blew our minds, hogging our attention in a city full of distractions, which screams 'look at me' from every street corner.

With PaperTab, users can work their way though documents with the stroke of a finger, with pages turned by bending the corner.

Scientists said the technology could even be used in the office instead of a traditional screen, with workers running each of their apps on a different PaperTab sheet.

Information can be easily transferred between the tabs, too. Tapping one tab displaying a photo against one displaying a draft email would transfer between the two.

Roel Vertegaal, director of Queen's University's Human Media Lab, said: "Within five to 10 years, most computers, from ultra-notebooks to tablets, will look and feel just like these sheets of printed colour paper."
But PaperTab wasn't the only display innovation distracting us from Vegas' gambling and glitter during the International CES.

Samsung's Youm was kept under wraps 'til the middle of the week, with the tech giant giving no indication of its existence in Monday's bells-and-whistles press event.

But when it was unveiled during a later keynote speech in Vegas it soon began claiming more headlines than Celine Dion at Caesars Palace. For the technology paves the way for displays that bend, fold and roll - bringing to mind the 60s hit Bend Me, Shape Me by mod hipsters Amen Corner.

Samsung execs gave us a guided tour around Youm on a small thin plastic display, telling us it uses the wunderkind display technology of OLED, which is already changing the way we enjoy TV.  

The new Samsung display will offer better colours and a form slimmer than an A-list celeb on a new-year diet. A prototype was shown off in Vegas that saw the screen wrapped around the side of the device; information running off the front and onto the edges in a way reminiscent of surrealist Salvador Dali and his melting clocks.

Brian Berkley, senior vice president of Samsung's display lab, said: "This new form factor will really begin to change how people interact with their devices, opening up new lifestyle possibilities ... and allow our partners to create a whole new ecosystem of devices."