Imagine this, you’re sitting at your desk and you have your new paper thin smartphone clearly visible in front of you. It’s on silent, so it will emit no noise nor will it vibrate because it’s too thin to include a motor. How will you know when you receive a text message, email or missed call? Easy, the phone will change its shape and curl up to notify you, or one of the corners will curl indicating what type of message you’ve received.
That sounds utterly insane, right?
Turns out that scenario may actually come true someday soon. Researchers at Queen’s University Human Media Lab have developed a prototype smartphone that changes shape to react to various notifications. More specifically, it alerts the user by altering the body shape of the device instead of blaring a ringtone or vibrating incessantly.
The prototype has been dubbed the MorePhone, and it’s been designed with a flexible electrophoretic display from Plastic Logic. More specifically, the internal technology allows the phone to curl up its entire body to alert the user about a notification. It can also curl up to three separate corners, all of which can be assigned to different notifications. One pretty neat feature is that the phone can curl and uncurl continuously in order to indicate an important message.
According to Dr. Roel Vertegaal, director of the Human Media Lab, the new technology would offer more of a visual cue as to what your phone is doing.
“Users are familiar with hearing their phone ring or feeling it vibrates in silent mode. One of the problems with current silent forms of notification is that users often miss notifications when not holding their phone. With MorePhone, they can leave their smartphone on the table and observe visual shape changes when someone is trying to contact them.”
The MorePhone was developed by students Antonio Gomes and Andrea Nesbitt, at the School of Computing, and the project was led by Dr. Vertegaal.
Dr. Vertegaal, who also developed the PaperTab tablet and PaperPhone smartphone, seems to think that flexible smartphones will be available to consumers within the next five to ten years. This prediction may be founded, as Samsung has long been rumored to be considering flexible displays for future handsets.
Check out the video below to see the MorePhone in action. After you watch the video, be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below! And if you happen to be near Paris during the ACM CHI 2013 (Computer-Human-Interaction) event then you can catch a glimpse of the MorePhone prototype as it will be on display.