Every year Microsoft holds the Next-Gen PC Design competition and, in all honesty, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever see one of these in mass production. However, the winning designs do serve a purpose by indicating the direction that computers can go and they all serve some functional purpose (well, most of them).
Despite it’s rather unappealing name, this year’s winner is the Napkin PC. Also collecting the Chairman’s Choice award, the Napkin PC uses e-paper enabling designers and creative professionals to craft their latest designs onto a material that is more suitable to the task than a computer screen.
The image is then relayed from the e-paper to the napkin PC base unit. Pens of varying colours are provided to differentiate users during collaborative work and as soon as you sign your name, the finished piece is allotted to you and your own personal settings and files are used for saving and storing the information.
The Napkin is designed so that it can be “thrown about” between designers and other professionals, and work can be added to or altered without all the changes having to be documented at a later date. Paper and pens are stored in the base unit, which is designed to have the appearance of a napkin holder (obviously).
It’s an awesome idea, just don’t use it to blow your nose on or you won’t be the most popular designer at the table.