Apple announces iPhone 6, Apple Watch

Laptop concept would roll up like a yoga mat

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March 25, 2011

The Rolltop concept proposes wrapping a flexible OLED display around a central column for ...

The Rolltop concept proposes wrapping a flexible OLED display around a central column for easy transport, and unrolling it when needed for tablet, monitor or laptop functionality
(All images: Orkin Design)

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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.

The device is rolled out flat before transforming the display into a monitor, tablet or no...

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.

The Rolltop concept in notebook mode

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.

Via InventorSpot

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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9 Comments

The problem with all keyboards like this is the pain they can cause because they do not 'give'. Also what's the point of having something that you cannot fully put on your lap. This is not imho a laptop but a portable desktop replacement. a proper laptop should not have the cumbersome column like a round mini town to draggg around with you. pretty idea for a desktop but a crappy idea for a laptop.

Hilary Albutt
26th March, 2011 @ 12:01 am PDT

A concept, just that...

Facebook User
26th March, 2011 @ 03:20 am PDT

Does not fit in pocket ... Fail

QuantumSleep
27th March, 2011 @ 01:58 pm PDT

I'm not so sure it is a fail, its very stylish. The cylindrical shape will find it's nich (although perhaps in a specialist role, "no pun intended") with hikers and such. Good effort I say.

Terry Penrose
27th March, 2011 @ 09:39 pm PDT

If it wrere made from very high quality parts and materials with an Apple Logo, it would sell like hot cakes

Terry Penrose
27th March, 2011 @ 09:46 pm PDT

A very strong contender if they can make it light and powerful and go for at least half a day without recharging. Easy to sling around the neck or put in your suitcase - it says yes to me.

Facebook User
28th March, 2011 @ 07:45 am PDT

I think the main concern isn't that it "Does not fit in pocket" or that it cannot be placed on your lap; Those are design elements that can be modified relatively easily. With the advent of flexible OLED screens and capacitive touchpads, this is just the natural progression for the portable computer, and the Rollout seems to have a good idea on where this is going.

I do agree that when this is successfully implemented, power and compactness will become key issues. And as time goes by, these two will most certainly improve. I have some beef over having the column around, but as far as that is concerned, it can also be omitted eventually.

To me, this looks like a revolutionary concept, and will be to the computer industry what the motorcycle was to the bicycle; A stepping stone to something far greater.

Swiyth Glamhouste
7th April, 2011 @ 09:50 pm PDT

FacebookUser, you thinkng is too limited. Remember, this is a 'concept'.

'Thin-film' design appplied to both batteries and a photovoltaic charger would both be good ideas that also need to see further development as that is the nature of 'concept products'.

Facebook User
18th October, 2012 @ 07:35 am PDT

well I for one love the concept, bring it on I say

I would love it

Robin Curtis
23rd August, 2014 @ 06:03 am PDT
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