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Science Technology

Cylindrical Rolltop Laptops 159

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the why-this-is-a-slow-day dept.
akshaynhegde writes "Germany's Orkin Design has proposed this fantastic concept of a futuristic laptop. The rolltop is a 'rolled up' laptop. By using the flexible OLED and touchscreen technologies, the created concept is a cylindrical laptop which can be rolled out when it needs to be used and can be rolled up again when not used." Something tells me it will be a little while before you will be unrolling your laptop on a plane.
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Cylindrical Rolltop Laptops

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 28, 2011 @10:50AM (#35639540)

    Something tells me it will be a little while before you will be unrolling your laptop on a plane.

    Enough is enough. I have had it with these motherfucking rollup laptops on this motherfucking plane.

    • As have the FAA and TSA, who have pre-emptively banned these devices on all flights pending approval.

  • I don't think we will see rollup laptops, but rather just rollup monitors and keyboards. By the time these come out, your computer will be in your pocket, you will just want a larger screen and keyboard to do your real work.
    • No thanks. Roll-up keyboards are already available, and they suck.

  • by GrumblyStuff (870046) on Monday March 28, 2011 @10:53AM (#35639588)

    And even if it was, do you know how god damn annoying it is to read a paper after it's been rolled up?

    Look, laptops do it right. The hinge? That's a crease, a fold line, and allows this thing that otherwise should not be bent to use space more efficiently. A cylinder is will have that big empty volume in the middle. Well, it will until the slightest bit of pressure to the sides squeezes it flat.

    • by shadowfaxcrx (1736978) on Monday March 28, 2011 @11:02AM (#35639730)

      This. Just because you can make something doesn't mean anyone is going to want it. There's a reason we upgraded from scrolls to books. Rolled up things are an inefficient use of space.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by captainpanic (1173915)

        There's a reason we upgraded from scrolls to books. Rolled up things are an inefficient use of space.

        Could it be that we went to books because of the invention of the printing press, which was not able to print continuously on a long scroll (contrary to the more modern printers, starting with the matrix printer)?
        In the fluids / beverage industry, cylindrical containers are very common. Volumes range from a few milliliters to thousands of tons. Nobody ever complained about the volume taken up by the space between the bottles or tanks.
        In fact, cylindrical containers tend to be very strong, and that's a major

        • by kevinNCSU (1531307) on Monday March 28, 2011 @11:44AM (#35640352)
          I think there are some pretty clear advantages to bounded books over scrolls especially considering they started hand-writing them long before the printing press. For example, have you ever tried reading your scroll with one hand and a drink in the other while lounging by the pool? And God help you if you drop it, that's when everything REALLY starts to unravel.
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Antisyzygy (1495469)
            I advocate a return to the scrolls. Drinking while reading should be a crime.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Scrolls are sequential access documents, while books are random access. The advantages of a book over a scroll are completely unrelated to their uses as a computer screen form factor.

            • Mod parrent up.

              Also, codexes [i.e. bonded books]are able to access information dynamically [flip to page x] vs. sequentially. [i.e. unbounded books]

              If you want to find a good example of why this matters, look at early Christianity writings vs. Judaism writings on the same subject. Codexes were invented about the same time as Christianity was founded. The Torah is always read linearly on a scroll. The sense of time, relationships to the texts, etc. are very different.

        • by camperdave (969942) on Monday March 28, 2011 @11:44AM (#35640356) Journal

          Could it be that we went to books because of the invention of the printing press, which was not able to print continuously on a long scroll (contrary to the more modern printers, starting with the matrix printer)?

          No. The change from scroll to book happened centuries before the invention of the printing press.

          • by SEWilco (27983)

            Could it be that we went to books because of the invention of the printing press, which was not able to print continuously on a long scroll (contrary to the more modern printers, starting with the matrix printer)?

            No. The change from scroll to book happened centuries before the invention of the printing press.

            I blame union sheep, for their refusing to produce infinitely long hides.

            Looong sheep says baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...

        • by Inner_Child (946194) on Monday March 28, 2011 @11:47AM (#35640404)

          Nope, we went to books before the printing press, but nice try.

          Also, while cylindrical containers are strong, they also don't repel bears very well (which has about as much to do with which is more efficient for the printed word as your beverage example).

          • by Darinbob (1142669)

            But if you were attacked by a bear, you could roll up your laptop to make an improvised weapon to defend yourself.

        • by Splab (574204) on Monday March 28, 2011 @11:52AM (#35640446)

          They aren't using cylindical forms because they want to, but they have to to contain the pressure. Trust me, they complain a lot about the space lost due to cylindical containers.

        • by vlm (69642)

          Could it be that we went to books because of the invention of the printing press, which was not able to print continuously on a long scroll (contrary to the more modern printers, starting with the matrix printer)?

          Rotary press 1843 vs offset press 1903 vs Dot matrix printer 1964

          Pretty much everything printed on a modern press for about a century before the dot matrix printer was invented was printed on "scrolls". Newspapers etc are not printed on precut sheets. Other than modern desktop laser printers, pretty much everything for the last century has been printed on "scrolls" that are later chopped into pages. I am not counting artsy craftsy stuff like silk screening tee shirts here, rather the million times larger

        • Just because it's not what you're used to doesn't mean it's a bad idea :-)

          Am I the only one that's sick and tired of seeing this nonsense argument? At what point did he say "It's a bad idea because it's not what I'm used to"? Your reply is completely irrelevant. I could just as easily say "Just because it's not what you're used to doesn't mean it's a good idea."

        • by kuzb (724081)

          Of course people would buy it if it had an Apple logo. People turn in to complete idiots when you put an Apple logo on something.

      • by capnkr (1153623) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:02PM (#35640568)

        Rolled up things are an inefficient use of space.

        Not necessarily. Next time you pack for a trip where luggage space is at a premium, try rolling up your clothing instead of packing it folded flat in your suitcase/seabag. When crammed full, not only will the result produce less wrinkles in the clothing (if care is taken with the rolling), but it is easier to go through the entire contents of the luggage container to find a specific item, and then remove it without 'upsetting' other items. Just sayin'...

        • by idontgno (624372) on Monday March 28, 2011 @12:14PM (#35640710) Journal
          I believe Dilbert [dilbert.com] discussed this.
        • by rsborg (111459)

          Next time you pack for a trip where luggage space is at a premium, try rolling up your clothing instead of packing it folded flat in your suitcase/seabag.

          During my trip through US Army basic training, I was told to do this. During our first excursion prep, I ignored it initially, then realized that I couldn't pack everything in my rucksack. On a second attempt, placing more emphasis on rolling my clothes, I managed to fit it all in. Ever since I that time, I roll my clothes unless there's ample space in my luggage (sometimes this has resulted in me traveling with a smaller bag).

          However, back to the point, I'm not sure that you could actually gain space rol

      • by PRMan (959735)
        I believe you mean we went from scrolls to codices (plural of codex). Both are books.
      • by kasperd (592156)

        There's a reason we upgraded from scrolls to books.

        Not everybody think that upgrade was a good idea. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQHX-SjgQvQ [youtube.com]

      • by Zoxed (676559)

        > Rolled up things are an inefficient use of space.

        But it would look cool next to your Latte, and that is what sells Apples ;-)

    • by Whalou (721698) on Monday March 28, 2011 @11:07AM (#35639812)
      From what I saw, the 'big empty volume' in the middle is used for the cylinder that appears to hold the actual computer. The rolled up part is just a screen that you hook up to the base.
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Now now, dont bring reality and physics into it.

      the roll up laptop will be built with unobtanium that will not have any material memory and will roll up easily and then unroll to be perfectly flat instantly..

    • by AlecC (512609)

      Look, laptops do it right. The hinge? That's a crease, a fold line, and allows this thing that otherwise should not be bent to use space more efficiently. A cylinder is will have that big empty volume in the middle.

      According to TFA, the hole in the middle contains USB ports, power connectors, speakers, webcam - basically all the PC except the keyboard/screen.

    • Might want to RTFA. Or at least W(Watch)TFV(Video). The concept rolls around a detachable core, which houses the power supply / external speakers. It's a neat idea, though I have my doubts about usability/durability in the real-world.

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      Perhaps the "center" of the tube is the large battery/handle/CPU section, and the screen and keyboard wrap around it? Imagine your whole laptop folded up into the size of a long maglite flashlight. Maybe there's an integrated LED light on the end for times you're not computing.
  • I fail to understand the entire roll-up computation field. What's the appeal? Why would I want to carry around a cylinder of material that is easy to crush (and therefore crease, likely destroying in the process) when the same item can be made flat, rigid, and slide easily into my briefcase along with other flat things that I need to carry around? Floppy items are no fun to type on. Curly things are no fun to read.

    Can someone explain, please?

    • I think everyone remembers too fondly Captain Picard's girlfriend's rollup piano.

    • by Twinbee (767046)

      A rolled up laptop essentially decreases a dimension of space you need to worry about. Therefore it'll take up less space and/or allow for larger screens.

      Since the material is flexible, it's also less likely to break when dropped etc.

      When it's uncurled it should be as flat to read as a normal laptop if the implementation is decent.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)
      Exactly. Instead of roll-up, why not try and come up with a way that allows you to fold a laptop multiple times. If you can make a laptop thin and flexible enough to roll up like a newspaper, why not just try to make one that can fold up to the size of a paperback or small hardcover book? Hell, I'd be happy with a full-size laptop that can fold up to be the size of a closed netbook. Seems like that would be a lot more efficient and economical in terms of storage than rolling one up.
      • by Zerth (26112)

        Existing flexible displays don't tolerate hard creases well. Making it a cylinder reduces the angle necessary to flex.

        Now if you were willing to put up with some lines, a screen could be made of several 7" displays arranged much like a 2x2 desktop monitor array. But it would be very thick when folded and the keyboard would probably suck more than the usual laptop keyboard.

      • Exactly. Instead of roll-up, why not try and come up with a way that allows you to fold a laptop multiple times.

        Because it'll break.

    • Exactly! Packs are all made to store many layers of flat material, a cylinder would actually waste space. I just don't get it.
      • by Stooshie (993666)
        If you WTFV you'll see that the central part holds the gubbins, like speakers and power and processors etc...
    • I agree. Floppy clyinders are no fun. Sliding rigid things into cases satisfies my manly urges.

    • Anywhere you can carry a pen, you could carry a computer. Also the screen would be larger than a watch-size or cell-size when expanded.
    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Simple: A rolled up screen can be much larger than the keyboard it's attached to...

      (A useful rolled up screen would have a lot less diameter than the one the "visionary" in the article is proposing)

    • by Stooshie (993666)
      I fail to understand the entire fire concept! Why would I want to go to the bother of creating fire when I can digest raw meat and berries, scare of animals with a big nasty stick and keep warm by huddling together in a corner? Can someone explain, please?
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Based on today's CIS students.... it's a desire to at the end of the day, unroll your laptop, fill it with your favorite herb, roll it back up and smoke it.

    • I fail to understand the entire roll-up computation field. What's the appeal? Why would I want to carry around a cylinder of material that is easy to crush (and therefore crease, likely destroying in the process) when the same item can be made flat, rigid, and slide easily into my briefcase along with other flat things that I need to carry around? Floppy items are no fun to type on. Curly things are no fun to read.

      Can someone explain, please?

      You don't carry around the cylinder on its own. The cylinder rolls up into a holder device, similar to the communicators on Earth: Final Conflict [photobucket.com]. The screen unrolls when you want to use it. Marry that with some tubes of electrorheological fluid [wikipedia.org] and you could get a flexible screen that becomes a flat, hard surface when unrolled and current flows through it.

    • I didn't care for the design shown in the link at all. It didn't provide any advantages over a laptop, yet was trying to replace one. But I have thought of it before, and I do think it would be a good idea in some situations.

      First some constraints. I don't think this would work well for a laptop; typing on a surface without tactile feedback sucks compared to a real keyboard. So it is limited to tablet-type applications. It would also need a solid core (like a scroll) or even sheath (like a retractable proje

      • First some constraints. I don't think this would work well for a laptop; typing on a surface without tactile feedback sucks compared to a real keyboard. So it is limited to tablet-type applications.

        I'd say a decent tactile keyboard is very possible. This guy just loves touchscreens. Look at a modern laptop keyboard. The keys are not high, and arranged in rows. You could place hinges in between the rows and have the keyboard roll up with your screen. Since the keys themselves would touch the back of the screen there is no denting in the delicate and flexible screen. But then you couldn't use it the way he did: completely flat with as a drawing screen.

  • One was the movie Mission To Mars. Another was a scifi TV series about a decade ago produced by Majel Roddenberry I think was called Earth Final Conflict. User had pen-like devices they could pull out a computer screen.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Post about it when it is built.

    • by suso (153703) *

      Yeah exactly. I made a wad of paper laptop once........ in Blender. So what. Rolltop is probably a 13 year old kid with no budget. Actually, the logo even looks like Blender's logo a bit.

  • They'll call it the iScroll...
  • I bet the Apple Rollup will taste the best. Either that or it won't but many people will insist in forums and chat rooms that it is.
  • Red Planet, Caprica, Killing Star, others.

  • News?

    I'm sure someone sent me a link to a video around two years or more ago that looked almost exactly like that. Same shape, same blue shoulder strap, everything...

    Same speculation that it's coming right away...

  • by mschaffer (97223) on Monday March 28, 2011 @11:12AM (#35639892)

    When are designers going to get it into their heads that touch displays make terrible keyboards!!!
    I will gladly keep my rigid keyboard in lieu of the roll-up display.

    Besides, I saw sketches of something similar years ago. This isn't new.

    • by sammyF70 (1154563)

      You do know what kind of answers you are going to get, right?

      [ tablet fanboy mode ] if it's not for you, then don't buy one. there are people out there who just do not need a keyboard! It's all about mobility, man! Think of all the space you can save with such a device, space you can then fill with a bluetooth keyboard, bluetooth mouse, bluetooth usb adapter, and other peripherals and ports that are standard on any basic notebook[ /tablet fanboy mode ]

    • by PRMan (959735)
      As long as iPhones and iPads keep selling like hotcakes, never.
    • by immakiku (777365)

      (disregarding sammyF70's joke about tablet fanboys)

      You know, there are people out there who just do not need a keyboard. The keyboard is optimized to construct words in an alphabetic language. Chinese users have struggled since the beginning of computing to figure out a good method to construct words on the keyboard. The most optimal solution now is a combination of some typing shorthand + auto-completion. Chinese is a language best written by hand. For that, a touch interface is actually superior.

      • by sammyF70 (1154563)
        from my limited experience with japanese and kanji, I can see where you're coming from, although a good grafic tablet would probably be even better than a touch interface (but I'm no expert, so ...). I was obviously speaking about latin alphabet based text of course.
      • by kuzb (724081)

        Seems to me the problem is the language, not the input device.

      • What you say may have some truth but I seriously doubt that Orkin Design had the inputting of Chinese characters in mind when designing this.

    • When are designers going to get it into their heads that touch displays make terrible keyboards!!!

      When people stop buying them by the 10's of millions.

    • by fermion (181285)
      As soon as keyboard designers learn that chiclet keyboard and their decedents make horrible keyboards. My fragile laptop keyboard which merely closes a electrical connection and uses a piece of plastic for feedback is horrible. I demand that large mechanical switches be brought back with their true force feedback and loud noises that can be heard over the din fo the airplane fans cooling my tower.

      Which is to say that the first post-switch keyboards were horrible, and not just because we were used to ty

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      They're not marketing to logical people who want practical devices. They're marketing to people who want cool and new things that they can show off.

  • by lennier1 (264730)

    What's so new about that? Concept ideas along those lines have been around for years, long before OLED screens became mainstream.

  • The video in the linked site, which has been around since at least 2009 [gigaom.com], is entirely animated. It's a neat idea, but show me a physical device.
  • They see me rollin'
    my laptop
    I know they're all thinking
    I'm so white'n'nerdy

  • So that's a lot of moveable parts. Technically the screen is flexible but the other side appears hinged. What happens when one of those hinges bust?

    One of the selling points is that the rolltop fits in any bag, but if my livelihood depends on a reliable machine that won't physically break in the airport right before I get on the plane, I'll gladly get a specialized bag for it, it's not that big a deal.

  • It only makes sense to use a rollable anything if you have something else already that rolls up that cannot reasonably be made to take up less space in some other way. For instance in my camping kit I have a big thermarest pad which rolls up so it only makes sense that I should carry around other stuff that rolls up, then it can all go down the center of my pack and end up pretty well-balanced with other stuff packed around it. So I pack clothes into those gigantic zip-lock bags and wrap them around it. Any

  • Everyone flipping out about not wanting to use a roll-up laptop... which is fine, but I think the idea here is to just showcase one small application for roll-up/out technology.. I can think of many places a roll-out screen would be handy... A roll-out GPS map in a car, a roll-out screen for consuming content on the road, like in an RV. Large roll-out displays for use in aerospace, either on a space station where size and weight are key, to on a passenger plane for larger personal video screens.. Pers
  • I'm tired of reading about rollup screens. This article is more about a design than an actual device (the video is computer generated). I might just as well be watching Terminator 3 to see how control over fluid metal could look.

    I've seen articles and concept designs of folding and rolling of displays for the past 10 years at least. It's time that this stops making news. The next time this should show up is when someone actually builds one.

  • There was always one thing you could do with a real newspaper that you couldn't do with an iPad or a laptop, and that's train a puppy with it. With these rolled-up laptops, that limitation is gone.

  • A laptop is a computer that can be use atop one's lap. A rolltop suggests to me its light enough to place on your protruding fat rolls without sinking down and being absorbed in your disgusting self.
  • If so (of course they are), enjoy having them break and/or warp due to repeated fatigue on the materials.

  • Does this also unroll your loops?
  • Well, at least we know their design doesn't have any bugs. [orkin.com]

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