What I’ve Got: PaperTab: World’s First ‘paper tablet PC’

PaperTab is the world’s first paper tablet. “PaperTabs are also proximity-smart. According to Human Media Lab’s website, each PaperTab knows its location relative to other PaperTabs. If a PaperTab is held, it will display a fullscreen app window. If it’s placed on a table, but still within reach of the user, it’ll show a thumbnail of a document. And if the PaperTab is placed outside of reaching distance, it’ll only display icons. The “tablet” isn’t quite wireless yet, as it looks to require power from a computer that is presumably under the desk. However, as we move towards a future of “natural computing,” the PaperTab could be a concept technology that’ll finally the old timers to finally join the digital revolution.” 

PaperTab spikes a lot of questions about desirability: what is more desirable, functionality or aesthetics? PaperTab is far less aesthetically pleasing than the iPad (it’s still in black & white), but it has more personalized functions. Is such a large technological leap (tablet technology) a necessary additional to one of our most primitive items (paper)? Is it more desirable to carry around three pieces of paper that can be connected together or just one tablet that cannot be expanded? Is something “thin” necessarily more desirable than something thicker and heavier? 

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