Will Your Next Smartphone Shape-shift? One Researcher Presents His Ideas
By David Ayala
PhD student Fabian Hemmert recently presented a revolutionary way of designing phones and other small gadgets. His prototype offered shapeshifting, weightshifting, and “living” technologies that may change the way we interact with our phones in the future.
In his presentation at the TEDxBerlin Conference, Hemmert gives sample uses for each of his unique design ideas, such as a shapeshifting scheme that can make a phone more easily dockable as an alarm stand.
Another form showcases a weightshifting device that can change its center of gravity to follow your finger as you touch it. His most unique (and arguably zany!) implementation is known as a “living” device, where the object is able to simulate a heartbeat and a sense of being organic.
As Hemmert puts it, “What’s behind that is a postulation namely that [it’s] not humans [that] should get much more technical in the future; rather than that, technology [should become] a bit more human.”
In this era of the Nexus One and the iPhone, it appears that manufacturers have arrived at a plateau regarding unique hardware interfaces; they’re focusing on finessing the current status quo of accelorometers, capacitive touch screens, and speedy mobile processors.
But the well of ideas has far from run dry. Synaptics’ Fuse phone, for example, promises a new hardware interface that involves gripping the phone at the sides. The Fuse samples one concept for expanding the number of ways you can interface with a gadget.
Hemmert’s prototype is coming at a time when hardware makers need to be further pushed to incorporate new ideas. Hemmert’s design concepts are not ready for prime time going by the video (i.e., chunky design, battery issues), but his thinking is definitely in the right direction. Where are you expecting your gadgets to go next? Here’s betting on 3D autostereoscopic phones.