[AI] Nokia's new foldable Morph phone
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Tue Feb 26 07:45:07 EST 2008
The Hindu News Update Service
News Update Service
Tuesday, February 26, 2008 : 1040 Hrs
Sci. & Tech.
Nokia's new foldable Morph phone
GUARDIAN NEWS SERVICE
By Richard Wray
Circuitry can be wrapped around a little finger - Phones may also be able to sense their surroundings
It can be used as a keyboard, and it can even be used as a bracelet or an earring - but it's really a phone that Nokia thinks can lead the way in the next
generation of mobile technology.
The Morph phone has been developed by the Finnish mobile phone company and nanotechnology experts at Cambridge University, and was recently unveiled at
New York's Museum of Modern Art as part of the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibition.
It looks like a thinner version of the 1980s Rubik's Magic Puzzle toy and can be used as a keyboard when laid flat. While folded either lengthways or widthways,
it turns into a typical, though very thin mobile phone - or into a bracelet that can be worn and connected wirelessly to a headset.
The developers say the project is based on real research and is not just an aspirational piece of design.
"All of the elements of the phone are reflected in real projects that are going on here," said Professor Mark Welland, head of the nanoscience group at
Cambridge University and director of the Nokia collaboration.
"For example, the device's flexibility: we have a project on flexible electronics and can take a piece of electronics and wrap it around your little finger
and it still operates."
Flexible electronics have been in production for some time, but the research being carried out by Cambridge University and Nokia, which involves 10 researchers
from the company and 25 Cambridge scientists, goes much deeper than just making devices that are wearable. Altering materials at their most basic atomic
level can, for example, create devices that never get wet - because they repel water so effectively - or can sense their surroundings, being able to tell
whether food is off or measure the temperature of the wearer.
This ability to sense surroundings is the next leap for mobile phones, according to Welland.
"The bits that are more challenging are things such as sensing the world, such as being able to interact more strongly with the environment." Another difficulty
in producing a viable commercial version of the device is how to power it - battery technology is still too cumbersome to integrate perfectly into a flexible
device - but scientists at Cambridge are working on the next generation of batteries under their super-capacitor battery project.
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