Behold the RollTop, The Computer You Unfurl (video)

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rolltop laptop computer
Evgeny Orkin designed this new concept computer: a laptop that rolls up to be carried.

2010 may go down in history as the year of the tablet, but that hasn’t stopped anyone from dreaming about the next form the portable computer may take. Evgeny Orkin‘s thesis project, called RollTop, is a concept video of a laptop that rolls into a tube to take with you on the go. Not only does the RollTop transform from tube to laptop, it can also change into a tablet, or a digital frame, all thanks to the use of a flexible OLED touchscreen. It’s a cool concept piece, even if no one’s working to actually make it, and it’s taken YouTube by storm with over 2 million views since September. RollTop is a good sign of things to come: the more people work with and innovate current models of computers, the better we’ll be able to design the human computer interfaces of tomorrow. You should definitely check it out below:

The crazy thing about the RollTop video is that we’re fairly close to actually being able to build it. Samsung has a flexible OLED screen in the works and incorporating touch capabilities wouldn’t be that much of a leap forward. Most of the other parts we see in the video are already available.

Question is, does the RollTop make sense as a product. Probably not. As cool as a roll up laptop may be, I don’t think it offers enough advantage over the traditional clam shell design to make it profitable. Still, I really like this innovation. Along with other concept pieces, like the 10/GUI, Orkin’s work shows how small variations from the norm could help invigorate an industry. Keyboards and mice will eventually have to be phased out. A touchscreen keyboard/tablet is a great alternative that also sticks to what works: hands rested on a surface, controls attached/near the device. It will be interesting to see how these relatively small steps forward in design help fuel the greater leap that human computer interfaces will need to take in the future. When our computers are shaped like children’s blocks, or when they plug directly into our brains, just remember that it all starts with simpler concepts like the RollTop.

[image and video credit: Orkin Design]
[Source: Orkin Design]