Like most computer enthusiasts who have a penchant for sci-fi, I have often drooled over some of the computers depicted in some futuristic movies. Films such as "Until the End of the World", "Minority Report" and "Red Planet" have shown computers that display 3D images into thin air, or can be rolled up like a piece of paper.
The latter idea now appears to be finding some degree of realisation. In the UK, a Cambridge team have developed metal structures that can morph from flat screens into tubes and other shapes. This could pave the way for a laptop that can be rolled up into a tube. Composed of copper alloys, the metal sheets work by using a positive interaction between stress levels and a shape. This means that the metal can be rolled, rather than snapping or breaking.
Dr Keith Seffen, the lead researcher on the team, believes that not only does the material have application for packages, roll-up notebooks, and electronic newspapers, but also for temporary shelters, as they’re transportable but have structural integrity.
Naturally, the developing team have filed patents on this innovation, and are now looking for partners to put the material into production and commercial applications.