Microsoft Research has shared its work on a new kind of smartphone cover that adds a secondary e-ink display to smartphones. Demoed using a Lumia 640, the integrated display cover provides users with a second display for content, increasing screen real-estate on existing phones without too much bulk.
The project sees research teams try to provide another solution to user-demand for more display. Instead of making smartphones bigger, what if you could add a secondary screen in the form of a cover? Microsoft Research describes the following:
Our prototype uses a pre-existing flexible e-ink display module. For expediency we didn't integrate a touch overlay; instead we incorporated five touch 'buttons' at the bottom of the display. The touch buttons and display connect to interface circuitry added to the rear of the phone – a Lumia 640 – via flat-flex cables which run through the flip cover 'hinge' along with a bend sensor. The cover itself consists of a bezel of soft-touch fabric which is heat-bonded to the display and to the rear surface of Alcantara using custom-made heated tooling.
While working prototypes did not include a touch-layer, Microsoft Research also envisioned scenarios in which the cover did support touch, providing additional functionality such as using the secondary screen as a keyboard, or as extra screen space for apps like Word to expand into. The secondary display could also be used for pinning important information such as tickets to a concert, the latest happenings within Cortana, and more.
This research project is an interesting insight into how Microsoft is thinking about expanding the mobile form-factor. While most Microsoft Research projects never turn into real products, we do know Microsoft is already hard at work on "Andromeda," a mobile device that runs Windows Core OS with two-screens that's pocketable with telephony capabilities. Andromeda and this e-ink display cover share few similarities, but both focus on using extra screen real-estate for enhanced productivity.
What are your thoughts on this research project? Let us know below!
Spotted by @h0x0d on Twitter!
We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.
Review: NASCAR Heat 5 is still the complete package for fans
It's not long since NASCAR Heat 4 arrived, or at least, that's how it seems, with the new title arriving much earlier in the year than its predecessor. It's got some shiny new paint jobs and some neat new features, but many would be hard pressed to tell it apart from last year's game.
Join us for the latest Windows Central Video Podcast
We're live with the Windows Central Video Podcast today at 2:30pm ET, make sure you're there!
Some Surface devices are still blocked from Windows 10 May 2020 Update
Despite removing a safeguarding block last week, Microsoft is still blocking several Surface devices from receiving the Windows 10 May 2020 Update. Microsoft has not specified what issues cause the current set of blocks.
Best Samsung Galaxy Book S Accessories in 2020
The Samsung Galaxy Book S is an incredible little ARM-powered machine, but what are some accessories that will make your experience with it even better? Here's a list of our favorites.