The mobile telephones of the future

May 09, 2013 by Christian Meier
Credit: Telekooperation Lab / TU Darmstadt

The mobile telephones of the future will be able to see, shrink while becoming larger, and slip into their users' skins. That terse statement summarizes the recently released results of a thorough look at the next ten to fifteen years of mobile telephony by the Technische Universität Darmstadt's "Future Internet" research cluster.

The cluster's researchers generated a research roadmap incorporating visions of the future and defined the necessary technological prerequisites. The outcome was a set of research areas that need to be addressed, and members of the Darmstadt team are already bubbling over with ideas regarding how to attack them, as Professor Dr. Max Mühlhäuser, head of the roadmap project, commented.

The displays of mobile telephones will merge virtual and . They will enrich images that their cameras capture with other information. For example, if their camera is pointed at Berlin's Reichtag, they will overlay its image with a 3-D view of that building, as it appeared back in the 1920s. Mühlhäuser noted that, "The challenge there will be that both selected buildings and everyday scenes will have to be recognized."

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

The mobile telephones of the future will need large displays, but be capable of being shrunk to the size of a pencil. Although displays that can be rolled up and folded will take care of that, Mühlhäuser added that, "Users will have their hands full simultaneously manipulating the display and the telephone's controls." Members of the Darmstadt team already have ideas regarding how the motions of rolling and folding displays can be translated into telephone operating instructions, such as zooming in on a section of a map.

"The user needs a device which he can trust"

Future mobile-telephone networks will have to be capable of handling much higher than their current counterparts. Mobile telephones and their networks will have to be more flexible in dealing with variations in signal levels. Mobile telephones will have to return responses from the "cloud" on a millisecond time scale, where a portion of the "cloud" will have to shift to mobile-telephone users' immediate vicinities. Mühlhäuser calls those mobile portions of the "cloud" "cloudlets."

Credit: Telekooperation Lab / TU Darmstadt

The Darmstadt roadmap also envisions how future mobile telephones will become the heart of new security concepts. Since mobile telephones are handling growing numbers of critical smart-phone services, such as opening doors or handling payment of tolls, legal and financial risks will be involved. Mühlhäuser emphasized that, "Users will need a telephone that they can trust if it is to represent their interests on the network on its own."

Mühlhäuser pointed out that one of the key problems involved there is that, "The security infrastructure is currently housed in insecure ." Only an encapsulated nanocomputer that is not under the thumb of commercial interests can become users' "second skin." Such tiny delegates to the virtual world could be incorporated into, e.g., users' finger rings, and would manage their passwords and payment accounts or control exchanges of their personal data with the environment.

Explore further: Audi tests its A7 driverless vehicle on Florida highway

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mobile industry champions paying with phones

Mar 04, 2012

Paying with a mobile phone is gradually become a reality for consumers, with banks, telecommunications operators and Internet players all jumping in to offer payment options.

EMarketer: Facebook US mobile ad revenue soaring

Apr 03, 2013

A research firm expects Facebook's mobile ad revenue to soar this year, hitting nearly $1 billion a year after the company started to splice ads into its users' mobile phones and tablets.

Recommended for you

Misinformation diffusing online

1 hour ago

The spread of misinformation through online social networks is becoming an increasingly worrying problem. Researchers in India have now modeled how such fictions and diffuse through those networks. They described details ...

Many tongues, one voice, one common ambition

2 hours ago

There is much need to develop energy efficient solutions for residential buildings in Europe. The EU-funded project, MeeFS, due to be completed by the end of 2015, is developing an innovative multifunctional and energy efficient ...

Chinese man brings gay conversion therapy lawsuit

3 hours ago

(AP)—A gay Chinese man said Thursday he was suing a psychological clinic for carrying out electric shocks intended to turn him straight, as well as the search engine giant Baidu for advertising the center.

Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

3 hours ago

(AP)—American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming up with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. expected to create 6,500 jobs.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rlhamil
not rated yet May 22, 2013
Just as the original Star Trek series predicted the flip-phone, so another (posthumous) brainchild of Roddenberry predicted the flexible screen. The "globals" (smartphone, GPS, etc) in "Earth: Final Conflict" resembled the mockups in your article: a flexible screen that pulled out between two sides.

For more than a decade, flat screens had almost the status of controlled fusion: something always in the future. Yet they caught on very quickly when the technology was finally ready. So also with other designs: the form has already been imagined, but needs to wait for the technology to implement it.