Screens expand for collaboration

Mobile devices could be making a dent in the BYOD and collaboration fields when resizable displays become a reality. Two researchers at the MIT Media Lab are working on producing prototypes of rollable and foldable displays which could feature intuitive interaction methods when expanded. The work, being carried out by Jürgen Steimle and Simon Olberding, seeks to overcome the stumbling block that mobile devices cannot be used as collaboration tools because they are too small.

Currently, instead of several people looking at the same screen when sharing content, they most often pass the mobile device between their associates so they can take turns working on the same thing.

By creating a display that expands the device then becomes effectively a handheld tabletop that could easily find a home in the systems integration market.

By working on the same display rather than using several devices wirelessly in a BYOD setting, the concept overcomes potential security flaws in distributing confidential information wirelessly or over a network.

However since thin, flexible displays are in their infancy the researchers couldn’t create fully mobile prototypes. They instead used passive displays with an optical motion capture system which tracked the position, orientation and width of the prototype in 3D space, as well as the multi-touch inputs. Using two HD projectors, display content was then projected and warped onto the surface of the displays.

The researchers are confident that it is just a matter of time before rollable OLED displays are available. The increased resolution they say will negate the need for motion capturing. Instead, the arrangement of users will be captured by small cameras built into the handles of the device.

Researchers have hinted that they may explore the concept of foldable and sliding displays, too