Samsung continues to explore unusual device form factors and biometric security in a patent just published on the World Intellectual Property Organization database. The patent covers a design for a scroll – as in, paper rolled around a stick – only instead of paper it’s a digital screen.
Taking a cue from those boxes of parchment paper or aluminum foil, Samsung’s design shows how an outer box or cylinder can contain an inner scroll that can be pulled out for viewing. When it’s time for the scroll to go back in its case, the screen curls around the main body with the help of magnets. It’s the kind of flexible screen technology that Samsung appears to have a growing interest in, with the head of its mobile business having recently asserted that the company will launch a foldable smartphone in 2018. Samsung’s arch rival, Apple, recently received approval for a patent covering a foldable iPhone, too, so this could be a niche area that will see growing competition in the near future.
Nevertheless, Samsung has been sure to include a technology in its scroll patent that is definitely not in a niche category at this point – a fingerprint sensor built into the container unit of the scroll. The idea is to use biometric authentication to unlock access to the scroll, bringing a now-standard security feature of contemporary smartphones to this new device form factor.
Of course, as always, there is no guarantee such a device will ultimately see the light of day; Samsung’s and Apple’s patents don’t necessarily point to products that are actually in production. But at the very least it shows us where Samsung is considering going next.