February 28, 2008 weblog
Softphone is a Squeezable Concept
At first glance, Qian Jiang's Softphone looks more like a mini trampoline than a cell phone. It doesn´t flip or slide to open, but rather it has that nerf type of appeal that just begs to be squeezed - which is just what you´re supposed to do.
From the outside, the Softphone is made of two materials: the "screen" of the phone is an electronic cellulose fabric, which is stretched on the inside of three wire-like loops of silica gel. A clip is attached to the loops, which contains all the hard components: the micro-electronics, micro-battery, antenna, speaker, and even a camera. The entire clip is about as large as a thumbnail.
The fabric is the interactive part, which reads mechanical deformations as input. In other words, squeezing the phone can answer a call or hang up. Squeezing really hard when the phone rings means refusing the call. The fibers are optically transparent, allowing light to pass through the fabric to create a display with a number touchpad. By unclipping the silica gel coils, you can unravel an entire QWERTY keyboard, with tiny letters and a unique circular shape.
The Softphone also includes wireless Bluetooth earphones made of rubber. Each earphone has a small slit in its side so they can be slid onto the phone´s lanyard near the clip, where they charge via electromagnetic induction technology.
The Softphone is just a concept, with no plans for manufacturing any time soon. But the technology it uses is within our reach, or already known. If the soft concept proves to offer practical advantages, it may be a glimpse into the future of cell phones.
via: Yanko Design