Image credit : Wired
The next foldable device lies totally flat when open thanks to the Pixel Fold hinge. Google describes the Pixel Fold hinge in a blog post it published today. It is a 180-degree custom-built fluid friction hinge that is out of the way of the internal screen when the device is unfolded. Why is this important? As Google explains, “With other foldable devices you have the hinge components under the display, which drives up the thickness. So with our hinge, we moved these hinge components entirely to the ends of the device, out from under the display, which makes it much thinner.”
Google had to design a Pixel Fold hinge that could withstand prolonged use while also keeping the tablet small.
That makes perfect sense, and Google had to design a hinge that could withstand the repeated use expected of a hinge found on a foldable phone in addition to maintaining the slim proportions of the Pixel Fold. George Hwang, a Google employee who is the product manager for the Pixel Fold, explained how challenging it was to create such a part. George stated, “We definitely had our work cut out for us. This is the most complicated project I’ve ever worked on, to put it simply.
How, therefore, did Google create the hinge for the Pixel Fold? They started by bringing boxes of hinges to the lab. They also examined books and paper. Why? As Google Industrial Designer Sangsoo Park puts it, “”We wanted to reproduce how you can hold and close a book with one hand, and we wanted to replicate how both sides of it perfectly blend together when shut.” According to Park, a passport was one book that they were infatuated with.
Google made an effort to reduce the amount of torque required to open and close the Pixel Fold. According to Park, the chosen torque gives the Pixel Fold user a pleasing hoover effect. In addition to feeling amazing, closing the device makes a pleasant sound. Product Manager Hwang observes, “You get this satisfying clap when it shuts, and we really liked it.”