If Kyrocera's folding smartphone Echo didn't have enough screens for you, try this on for size. The Human Media Lab at Canada's Queen's University has created a fully functional smartphone that uses not two, but three different snap-together e-ink displays. The result is a gigantic device called PaperFold, that can do some pretty awesome stuff, especially with maps. You can display driving directions over all of the screens for easy planning, or fold the displays together to create a Google Earth globe of sorts. The phone can even be used to print a model of your office. Just connect the panels together into a building-like shape, and send the specs along to your local 3D printer. A pretty cool trick if you ask us.
The inspiration for the project came from, you guessed it, paper. The lab's director, Dr. Roel Vertegaal, says "the development of electronic paper computers that can adopt similar qualities to paper has been an enduring research goal" for his team. It's an aspiration that's not unique to just this project. In 2010 Microsoft was working on (and then killed) a book-like tablet called Courier, and Sony released a high-dollar digital paper tablet earlier this year. While there are no plans to bring PaperFold to market just yet, it shows us what could be possible with digital displays and e-ink technology. Want to take a look for yourself? Check out the video below for a look at the prototype in action.