Does anyone remember those fortune telling fish you used to get in Christmas crackers? Where you would lay them on the palm of your hand and it would predict what was in store for you in the future by curling up at the edges, rolling over or the ends would touch?
I reckon there is a similar technology involved in this new paper thin mobile phone, I mean, it is ultra thin and it works by curling up whenever you have received a text or call.
Researchers at a Canadian university have dubbed the handset the ‘morephone’, and have manufactured a prototype in collaboration with a British firm called Plastic Logic. The paper thin mobile phone works by utilising ‘smart memory’ wires, placed inside a thin plastic display. When you apply a current through these smart wires, they contract and cause the whole display to curl up.
There are three different ways in which the phone contracts, it can either bend up, curl over its entire body or touch up to three individual corners. And you can even tailor which corner you want to convey each different message.
So, for example, a text could be the top left hand corner bending, the bottom right curling could be the user receiving an email and a call could be programmed to bend completely over.
And you can set the corners to repeatedly bend up and down which will suggest an urgent message or a call from a person that you are waiting to receive.
The director from the human media lab at Queens University in Canada, where the technology was developed, Dr Roel Vertegaal said: “This is another step in the direction of radically new interaction techniques afforded by smartphones based on thin film, flexible display technologies.
Users are familiar with hearing their phone ring or feeling it vibrate in silent mode. One of the problems with current silent forms of notification is that users often miss notifications when not holding their phone.”
Mobile phone companies have having to come up with increasingly new technologies in order to keep their share of the market, and this year alone, we have seen the development of transparent phones, the world’s thinnest mobile and even phones that work by tracking your eye movements.
So is there a place for a flexible phone within the market, and will people want to buy it? Dr. Vertegaal seems to think so and reckons that we could see bendable phones in the shops within five to 10 years.
Dr. Vertegaal says: “With morephone, they can leave their smartphone on the table and observe visual shape changes when someone is trying to contact them.”
Image: Queens University