Microsoft Research and Media Interaction Lab show off dual touch-screen flexible case (video)

flex case

Some years ago in 2011 Nokia showed off a flexible phone prototype which would allow users to interact with the phone via bending or twisting the device.

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It seems some of that work is still going on at Microsoft Research, with the foundation working with Austria’s Media Interaction Lab to develop a case for Windows Phone with some hidden features.

FlexCase is a novel flip cover for smartphones, which brings flexible input and output capabilities to existing mobile phones.

It combines an e-paper display with a pressure- and bend-sensitive input sensor to augment the capabilities of a phone. Due to the form factor, FlexCase can be easily transformed into several different configurations, each with different interaction possibilities. FlexCase can respond to a variety of touch, pressure, grip and bend gestures in a natural manner, much like interacting with a sheet of paper. The secondary e-paper display can act as a mechanism for providing user feedback and persisting content from the main display.

The video above demonstrates a number of different interaction techniques, ranging from using it simply as an extended display to novel uses like a Courier-like clipboard, to using it as a secondary keyboard in “laptop mode” or a hidden control surface when bent backwards.

Numerous applications apply the interaction techniques in real-world examples, including enhanced e-paper reading and interaction, a new copy-and-paste metaphor, high degree of freedom 3D and 2D manipulation, and the ability to transfer content and support input between displays in a natural and flexible manner.

There have been some rumours that Microsoft may include such a novel keyboard case in the legendary Surface Phone with Microsoft Research again showing off the concept to Bloomberg recently, calling it a Display Cover.

000021_WMPUSuch a gimmick may be just what the device needs to pull in buyers. Do our readers agree?

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