Nokia showed off a working prototype of a device that you bend and twist to interact with, giving consumers a brief glimpse into the future. The flexible gadget, dubbed a Nokia kinetic device, might not be available on the market any time soon, but it’s a cool sight to behold.
The kinetic device was displayed at Nokia World in London, when the Finnish phone maker unveiled its first Windows Phone 7 smartphone, the Lumia 800. But in a corner of the “Future Lounge” was the twisty device prototype with a real flexible OLED display.
To interact with it, you need to hold the device with two hands and flex the entire gadget, including the screen. To zoom in and out of photos in a gallery app, you bow the display inward, or outward to zoom out. A further bow outward takes you to the menu, where you twist from the sides to go up or down through the options.
To go back into a menu item, you bow in. In the music app, for example, you twist up or down to go through albums, bow in to pick your album, and then twist and bow again to select the song you want to play. Here’s a short video demo of how it works:
Nokia’s kinetic device is not the first flexible gadget concept, but it’s the first one that goes beyond a mockup and rendering, with a real, usable product. Nokia was quite secretive over the technology used for the kinetic prototype, and Tapani Jokinen, the man behind the project, wouldn’t tell Cnet whether it would make it to the market or how it works.
The twisting device would be an interesting system to play racing games, where you flex the display to go left and right, and bow in and out to accelerate and brake. Such a device would be less practical to operate an entire smartphone though, as you would constantly have to use two hands, instead of one hand/finger use with multi-touch smartphones nowadays.