MagicScroll: A rollable touchscreen tablet inspired by ancient scrolls

Queen’s University’s Human Lab researchers made history as it unveiled the MagicScroll, which is the world’s first rollable touchscreen tablet.
The HML team, spearheaded by Dr Roel Vertegaal, said that the MagicScroll was inspired by scrolls that originated in ancient Egypt. Even though the product is still in its R&D stage, the team believes that the MagicScroll offers advantages by being lightweight and easier to hold than a conventional tablet device, such as an iPad. “We were inspired by the design of ancient scrolls because their form allows for a more natural, uninterrupted experience of long visual timelines,” Vertegaal explained.
HML researcher and Dr Vertegaal’s collaborator Juan Pablo Carrascal presented the MagicScroll at the MobileHCI on September 4 in Barcelona, Spain. The MobileHCI conference is among the prominent international conferences on Human-Computer Interaction with mobile devices and services. The MagicScroll is unlike any ordinary device, as it features a 7.5-inch 2K resolution OLED display that is flexible enough to be rolled or unrolled around a 3D-printed cylindrical body. It is likewise comprised of two rotary wheels at either end of the cylinder that enables the user to browse through information on the touchscreen.
“Eventually, our hope is to design the device so that it can even roll into something as small as a pen that you could carry in your shirt pocket. More broadly, the MagicScroll project is also allowing us to further examine notions that ‘screens don’t have to be flat’ and ‘anything can become a screen’. Whether it’s a reusable cup made of an interactive screen on which you can select your order before arriving at a coffee-filling kiosk, or a display on your clothes, we’re exploring how objects can become the apps,” Dr Vertegaal added.
In addition, the rotary wheels also consist of robotic actuators that enable the MagicScroll to move or spin in place when receiving a notification. Moreover, the display can also be unrolled to function as a tablet display when users decide to take an in-depth look at a certain content.
Interestingly, the MagicScroll fits the user’s pocket when rolled up and can be utilised as a phone, pointing device, and dictation gear.