Laptop concept would roll up like a yoga mat
By Paul Ridden
March 25, 2011
Notebooks and tablets already offer pretty convenient computing on-the-go solutions, but Germany's Orkin Design proposes rolling up both devices into one ultra-portable package. The Rolltop concept will take advantage of advances in flexible OLED and touchscreen technologies to create a cylinder-shaped laptop computer that can be rolled out to form a notebook, a tablet, or display monitor. The concept has been floating around for a while, but has recently received a few tweaks to the design. Although specifics are in short supply, read on for what we do know ...
Rather than carry around a notebook in a laptop bag, full to the brim with all manner of cables, the Rolltop concept proposes bringing everything together in a flat panel display that's wrapped around a central cylinder. The top of the column detaches and acts as a power plug while the carry strap doubles as a power cord (presumably some sort of battery technology is also included, although this has not been mentioned). The central column also contains speakers, a camera, USB ports, and a LAN port.
After unlocking the catch, the user would roll out the Rolltop display like a mat and then either leave it flat for 17-inch tablet computing, or raise one end up for something resembling a notebook. The lower part of the screen is then used for keying on a virtual, onscreen keyboard while the upper part becomes a 13-inch display for viewing content. A pull-out support at the back also allows the flattened device to be used as a monitor-like display, and a stylus pen has been incorporated into the body of the panel.
When rolled up, Rolltop will be 11 inches (28 cm) long and have a 3.26-inch (8.3-cm) diameter – and that's about all we can tell you. As it's a concept designed to be built in the future, some of the technology kinks are still being worked on, but Orkin has stated its intention to see this design through to an actual, real-world product. There are, of course, quite a number of technical hurdles to overcome before that happens and unfortunately the designers do little to shed light on how such difficulties will be dealt with, leaving us to speculate.
It requires no great stretch of the imagination to visualize the various technologies already used in dual-screen notebooks, all-in-one computers and cutting edge tablets being incorporated into the Rolltop. Recent developments in bendy screen technology might also make this device a current possibility. However, details on how the internal components like processors, memory, storage and graphics cards will be dealt with have not been forthcoming, so it looks like we're just going to have to wait until there is more substance to this project.
In the meantime, have a look at the following video of how the designers see Rolltop being used and let us know your thoughts on this appealing concept.