Nokia prototype: twist, bend, tap, steal show (w/ video)

Oct 28, 2011 by Nancy Owano report
Nokia prototype: twist, bend, tap, steal show (w/ video)

(PhysOrg.com) -- The talk of the Nokia Show in London this week was a demo that had admiring visitors wishing the little device was beyond Cool-Idea Prototype and instead a launch with dates in place for stores and online shopping sites. The mind-bender, though not fully baked, is a hand-bender, namely a flexible kinetic device. The Nokia prototype allows the user to do tasks like pan through photos, zoom in and out, select and pause music, all by twisting, bending, bowing, and tapping the corners of the device. The prototype is, for now, simply named Nokia kinetic device.

The prototype has an . A user can get in and out by bending the handset back and forth. The user can manage menus by twisting and bending the in different directions. In so many words, Nokia’s think squad has imagined a mobile device that can behave according to how it is flexed.

The prototype demonstrated at Nokia World is from the Nokia Research Center (NRC). “The demo shows how intuitive and simple user interactions can be just by bending and twisting,” says the Center’s notes. The NRC also points out that Nokia is nowhere near the suggestion that the new screen invention is to replace the standard touchscreen. Instead, the concept is intended to suggest another option. As options go, the device is seen as useful for certain circumstances. Those include very cold climates where touchscreens may not be easily operated. The device can work even when a person is wearing gloves.

Yet another talking point in this week’s reports on the prototype is that it is a potentially useful device for the blind. One can get the device to work without having to look at it. The bending properties don’t need vision.

Nokia prototype: twist, bend, tap, steal show (w/ video)

This is not the last innovation we are likely to see in mobile device designs. The prototype is the latest in a succession of concepts that seek to enhance the mobile experience. As computing gets more mobile it clearly gets more inventively tactile. Innovative ways of handling smartphones, tablets, and other devices always draw crowds. Some observers at the London show noted the past interest in the introduction of the Synapse concept phone with squeeze sensors. This was demonstrated as a phone that the user can control by squeezing the sides or running a finger across a touchpad on the backside. Fuse was announced as a collaboration between Synaptics, Texas Instruments, Alloy, Immersion, and The Astonishing Tribe.

The Nokia demo appears as something that could be applied to smartphones as well as tablets. The demo’s screen size was a little less than five inches.

Asked when the device will be brought to market, the answer from the company representative was a vague, "Soon" but quickly followed by the comment, “It depends on how big the demand is in the market.” Still, those who have seen the device at the event or watched the videos generally agree that the time spent was fun and worthwhile, as the concept is a reminder of all the future innovations in mobile technology still in the wings.

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Egnite
not rated yet Oct 28, 2011
A nice report on the flexibility and basic interface but what about the specification limitations of such tech? Can they achieve comparable screen resolutions, cpu power or battery endurance to iPhones or galaxy?

...useful for certain circumstances. Those include very cold climates where touchscreens may not be easily operated.


Won't the rubber properties of the materials used get less felxible when the temp lowers? I'd have suggested it would be useful for people who like to kick or drop their phone/tablet a lot or for parents eager to give their 1yo a phone incase of an emergency :-o
Eikka
1 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2011
Won't the rubber properties of the materials used get less felxible when the temp lowers? I'd have suggested it would be useful for people who like to kick or drop their phone/tablet a lot or for parents eager to give their 1yo a phone incase of an emergency :-o


Isn't a phone typically kept in a pocket inside the clothes anyways to prevent the battery from freezing over? And then you have to take your gloves off to get it out.

I think it's a lame argument, but the phone is useful in other ways, such as being comfortable in the pocket because it's not a rigid brick any longer.

The thing is, how do you put any sort of connectors, or memory card slots onto a device that can bend any which way? Or most importantly, a SIM slot. Wouldn't it start to crack and come apart at the seams where the solids meet with the rubber?
krundoloss
not rated yet Oct 28, 2011
This type of technology seems like it will be difficult to catch on. That is probably what holds it back - would someone choose a device that doesnt perform as well just because it is flexible? What about peripherals? Tempature stability? Addin devices like SIM cards and memory cards? I think the best future for flexible electronics is to put them in clothing. It is great that they keep working on this even though they arent making any money on it yet!
MentalHealthNut
1 / 5 (1) Oct 28, 2011
So much for putting this device in your pocket while walking..
Deesky
3 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2011
I don't see how constantly exerting a fair amount of twist/bend force to drive the UI is in any way more 'natural' or easier than a conventional touch screen. It would get pretty tiring, I would think.

The only benefit I see is that it can be used with gloves, but I don't think that's enough.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (2) Oct 28, 2011
There are only 6 actions possible with such a device.

1 Bend face out
2 Bend face in
3 Twist clockwise
4 Twist counter clockwise
5 Squeeze top to bottom
6 Squeeze left to right

KBK
not rated yet Oct 29, 2011
stretch,

8.

then - combinations.

Game controller. Or. controller, period, of RC toys and drones, etc. Vehicles of any sort. Motion connected to motion.

150 million units in sales, there.
Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Oct 30, 2011
There are only 6 actions possible with such a device.

1 Bend face out
2 Bend face in
3 Twist clockwise
4 Twist counter clockwise
5 Squeeze top to bottom
6 Squeeze left to right



Skew diagonally left and right.
Bend it into an S shape left and right.
Bend the sides in up and down.
Pinch it at either end.

There's at least 20 different ways it could be used.

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