Usually, when we’re reviewing smartphones and tablets, we give them extra credit if they can pan, scroll and zoom without distortion. Now, Osaka University researchers are claiming, it’s might be better if they did. Their Flex touchscreen interface – demonstrated with Google Maps – uses a more elastic distortion of on-screen graphics, stretching around while your finger is on the display.
Video demo after the cut
While your finger is still in contact, the graphics pull and shift around so you can pan around what’s further off the screen. If you subsequently let go, the display shuffles around accordingly; move your finger back to the original point, however, and there’s no movement.
According to the researchers, this allows users to explore around the interface without losing their start position, potentially handy if – like us – you’ve ever tried to navigate between multiple destinations on a smartphone map and then lost the first place you located. Meanwhile multitouch gestures are also supported: flex the map and then tap the flexed part, and the screen automatically zooms out to fit both on-screen.