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Handhelds United Kingdom Technology

Shape-Shifting Mobile Devices Unveiled 53

Posted by samzenpus
from the fits-anywhere dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news about shape-shifting mobile devices unveiled by researchers from the University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science. "Prototype mobile devices that can change shape on-demand will be unveiled today and could lay down the foundation for creating high shape resolution devices of the future. The research paper (Pdf), to be presented at one of the world's most important conferences on human-computer interfaces, will introduce the term 'shape resolution' and its ten features, to describe the resolution of an interactive device: in addition to display and touch resolution. The research, led by Dr Anne Roudaut and Professor Sriram Subramanian, from the University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science, have used 'shape resolution' to compare the resolution of six prototypes the team have built using the latest technologies in shape changing material, such as shape memory alloy and electro active polymer."
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Shape-Shifting Mobile Devices Unveiled

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  • by rossdee (243626) on Monday April 29, 2013 @11:23AM (#43581105)

    The Dominion wants to be paid royalties

  • Never put a shape shifting mobe in your back pocket, lest it bite (byte?) you in the ass.
  • Amazing! A phone that shifts shape from a small lump, to a flat bar! Wow! If only we had had these kinds of phones in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it would have revolutionized the cell phone industry.
     
    What will they think of next, phones without physical buttons???

    • I'd actually like a flip style smart phone. It could have a larger screen and still fit in your pocket and stay protected. And you get the satisfying bonus of slapping it shut when your done with a call.
  • meh... they're probably robots in disguise.
  • by Trepidity (597) <.gro.hsikcah. .ta. .todhsals-muiriled.> on Monday April 29, 2013 @11:40AM (#43581253)

    The article is a survey of a number of different approaches to reconfigurable materials as applied to mobile devices, and proposes some criteria for how to quantify the "resolution" of the reconfigurability along a number of axes, like morphology and curvature and area and whatnot. I have not read it in enough depth to determine how useful it is as an analytical tool, but it's essentially proposing an analytical tool to use to understand this area and guide further developments.

    Incidentally, if you're interested in such materials, you may also be interested in self-reconfiguring modular robots [wikipedia.org].

  • Better Summary (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 29, 2013 @11:59AM (#43581445)
    All they're doing is evaluating memory alloys and electroactive polymers for mobile scenarios, and just barely at that. This is very early stage research, none of what is shown has any nearby practical reliable uses until it's much further developed.
    • The AC nailed it. If I had a mod point it would go here. I would expect customized interface (i.e buttons/keyboards) to be high on the list of wants, but this was mostly about small changes to the global shape of a flexible phone case. It's hard to extrapolate an actual USE for the current subject, beyond a simple novelty.

  • Bah, who cares about shape shifting mobile devices. What about flying mobile devices? I prototyped that yesterday when I knocked my tablet off the table. Flying mobile devices must be just around the corner!

  • "The research, led by Dr Anne Roudaut and Professor Sriram Subramanian, from the University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science"
    Now, we have a French name and an Indian name. It's a continuation of a trend I've been seeing for the last 10 years, with US-based researches being lead by (arguably) non-US citizens (as in: people not born in the US or born of immigrants).

    So I have to ask: where are all the US-based great minds? Working for these researchers? Just wondering.

    • Sadly, attempting to be the next rap/R&B star, great athlete, or lawyer takes precedence in most US youths' minds...
    • Even worse, University of Bristol, is not even in the US, how dare they have foreign researchers at a foreign University.

      • HUH, I'm a noob, I skimmed over the name and have read "Boston" :)
        Fair enough, but my question then broadens to cover UK as well, because even there I have seen the same trend.

        • I was being flippant, but....

          As migration of people around the world increases, surely there's bound to be more incidents of "foreign" names appearing in various places. Doesn't this just reflect the state of the "Global Village" we all find ourselves in?

    • by mjwx (966435)

      "The research, led by Dr Anne Roudaut and Professor Sriram Subramanian, from the University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science"
      Now, we have a French name and an Indian name. It's a continuation of a trend I've been seeing for the last 10 years, with US-based researches being lead by (arguably) non-US citizens (as in: people not born in the US or born of immigrants).

      So I have to ask: where are all the US-based great minds? Working for these researchers? Just wondering.

      Why cant they have good 'Murican names like Einstein, Fermi, Heisenberg and Von Braun.

  • What problem does this fix? Why do we need morphing phones?
  • It's always been an engineering rule of thumb: reducing the number of moving parts generally increases reliability and decreases maintenance. You may or may not be able to get as good a performance out of the end result, but at least there's less potential for random, fatigue-based breakage...

    The reverse? *sigh* Landfills cringe at the thought...

  • I just love it when companies add points-of-fai... sorry, I mean 'mechanical features' to my electronic devices.

  • is actually a mobile phone?

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