Computer scientists have created prototype mobile devices that can change shape on demand.
One example of a device is the team’s concept of Morphees: self-actuated flexible mobile devices that can shape-shift immediately depending on what you’re using it for.
The team believes Morphees will be the next generation of mobile devices, where users can download apps that embed a dedicated form factor, for instance “game app” that makes the device adopt a console-like shape.
Said Dr Anne Roudaut from the University of Bristol’s Department of Computer Science: “The interesting thing about our work is that we are a step towards enabling our mobile devices to change shape on demand. Imagine downloading a game application on the app store and that the mobile phone would shape-shift into a console-like shape in order to help the device to be grasped properly. The device could also transform into a sphere to serve as a stress ball, or bend itself to hide the screen when a password is being typed so passers-by can’t see private information.”
By comparing the shape resolution of their prototypes, the researchers have created insights to help designers towards creating high shape resolution Morphees.
In the future the team hope to build higher shape resolution Morphees by investigating the flexibility of materials. They are also interested in exploring other kinds of deformations that the prototypes did not explore, such as porosity and stretchability.