The 29th of April saw the unveiling of prototype mobile devices which have the ability to change shapes. The unveiling of the devices also known as morphees is likely to lay the foundation for future high resolution shape devices. A research paper to be presented during a conference on human computer interface will introduce a new term “shape resolution” that will describe the display and resolution of the new device. Dr. Anne Roudaut, Professor Surinam Subramanian of Bristol’s Computer Science, the lead researchers of the project used the technology to compare resolutions of 6 prototypes built by the team using new technologies in shape material technology like electroactive alloy and shape memory alloy.
The team has developed devices known as Morphees which are self actuated and flexible mobile devices which have the potential of changing shapes so as to fit the numerous functions that they support. The team has got the belief that morphees or shape shifting devices are likely to be the future mobiles for example the device could be able to collapse itself or could adopt other shapes like console to make playing games easier.
Dr Anne who is a research assistant at Bristol’s interactions group believes that the team is just a step away from enabling mobile devices to twist shapes on demand and according to different applications. The devices could bring about lots of changes for example the device could change shape and look like a game console for game players to play games more effectively. The morphees can also be able to change shape and appear like a sphere to function as balls for stress. The morphees could also be able to bend and hide the screen to make it impossible for passersby to see sensitive and private information being typed on the screen like passwords. The above are just a few uses of the morphees that the team envisages.
The researchers have come up with insights that will designers create “high shape resolution shape shifting devices or morphees.” The researchers compared shape resolutions of prototypes of shape shifting devices and were able to get some ideas that could guide manufacturers greatly in making future shape shifting devices. In the near future, the team hopes to make higher shape resolution devices by looking at various materials and comparing their levels of flexibility and deciding whether they can effectively and successfully be used to make the mobile devices.
The team also intends to explore other different types of deformations that were not explored by the prototypes that were used in the study. Some of the deformations that the team expects to look at include the stretch ability and porosity of some materials.
Though the concept looks very interesting, it is still in the early stages of design and research is still being carried out on the materials and how best the devices can be made to suit the needs of users. However, do not expect to see the devices on shelves anytime soon but may be in the near future, they will become the Iphones and Samsung galaxies then.