Roll-up laptop screens for truly portable computing

Sep 11, 2006
Roll-up laptop screens for truly portable computing
A mocked-up flexible display supported on one of Keith´s morphing structures.

Dr Keith Seffen, a lecturer in the Structures Group, University of Cambridge, has developed a range of unique solid structures that can change shape.

Known as "morphing" structures they can be used to produce many different configurations but without the need of complex parts or sophisticated manufacture.

Along with his co-workers, Dr Simon Guest and graduate student, Alex Norman, they are working on a range of applications, including re-usable packing, roll-up keyboards, and thin flexible displays for truly portable computing: a "mock-up" and its operation are shown in the photos, where an A5-sized flat screen snaps into a tube for compact carriage in a briefcase or pocket.

Roll-up laptop screens for truly portable computing
The display coiled up into a self-locking tube.

Keith considers the performance of structures from multiple viewpoints, in particular how to retain strength and stiffness while permitting large changes in shape. Typically, civil engineering structures are designed to be strong (safe) and stiff (immovable); when they are not, the consequences can be disastrous.

Writing in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series A (DOI: 10.1098/rspa.2006.1750), he describes a class of structures that behave normally under the usual operating conditions, but when the demands upon them increase, their response softens in a prescribed manner, permitting large yet safe departures from the original shape before becoming stiff and self-locking in a new configuration.

Such behaviour is governed by the choice of material and initial shape of structure, and Keith combines these influences in a systematic manner for the first time, yielding the conditions required for morphing behaviour in a wide range of structures.

Assisted by Cambridge Enterprise, Keith and his team have filed a patent on the manufacture and operation of their morphing devices, and are actively seeking industrial collaboration for future development.

Source: University of Cambridge

Explore further: Visualizing anisotropic carrier transport in organic semiconductor materials

Related Stories

Compiling a 'dentist's handbook' for penis worms

May 06, 2015

A new study of teeth belonging to a particularly phallic-looking creature has led to the compilation of a prehistoric 'dentist's handbook' which may aid in the identification of previously unrecognized specimens ...

Chandra suggests black holes gorging at excessive rates

Apr 30, 2015

A group of unusual giant black holes may be consuming excessive amounts of matter, according to a new study using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. This finding may help astronomers understand how the largest ...

Upside down and inside out

Apr 27, 2015

Researchers have captured the first 3D video of a living algal embryo turning itself inside out, from a sphere to a mushroom shape and back again. The results could help unravel the mechanical processes at ...

Poisons, plants and Palaeolithic hunters

Mar 23, 2015

Dozens of common plants are toxic. Archaeologists have long suspected that our Palaeolithic ancestors used plant poisons to make their hunting weapons more lethal.  Now Dr Valentina Borgia has teamed up ...

Recommended for you

What's fair?: New theory on income inequality

5 hours ago

The increasing inequality in income and wealth in recent years, together with excessive pay packages of CEOs in the U.S. and abroad, is of growing concern, especially to policy makers. Income inequality was ...

Scientists one step closer to mimicking gamma-ray bursts

12 hours ago

Using ever more energetic lasers, Lawrence Livermore researchers have produced a record high number of electron-positron pairs, opening exciting opportunities to study extreme astrophysical processes, such ...

Physicists solve quantum tunneling mystery

14 hours ago

An international team of scientists studying ultrafast physics have solved a mystery of quantum mechanics, and found that quantum tunneling is an instantaneous process.

How spacetime is built by quantum entanglement

14 hours ago

A collaboration of physicists and a mathematician has made a significant step toward unifying general relativity and quantum mechanics by explaining how spacetime emerges from quantum entanglement in a more ...

Experiment confirms quantum theory weirdness

14 hours ago

The bizarre nature of reality as laid out by quantum theory has survived another test, with scientists performing a famous experiment and proving that reality does not exist until it is measured.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.