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Shape-Shifting Mobile Devices Unveiled

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the fits-anywhere dept.

Handhelds 53

An anonymous reader writes in with news about shape-shifting mobile devices unveiled by researchers from the University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science. "Prototype mobile devices that can change shape on-demand will be unveiled today and could lay down the foundation for creating high shape resolution devices of the future. The research paper (Pdf), to be presented at one of the world's most important conferences on human-computer interfaces, will introduce the term 'shape resolution' and its ten features, to describe the resolution of an interactive device: in addition to display and touch resolution. The research, led by Dr Anne Roudaut and Professor Sriram Subramanian, from the University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science, have used 'shape resolution' to compare the resolution of six prototypes the team have built using the latest technologies in shape changing material, such as shape memory alloy and electro active polymer."

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Shape Shifting (3, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581105)

The Dominion wants to be paid royalties

Re:Shape Shifting (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581385)

So does Hasbro

Re:Shape Shifting (1)

gslj (214011) | about a year and a half ago | (#43584817)

So does Larry Niven [wikipedia.org] , darn it. (And you don't want to mess with someone who's on speaking terms with tnuctipun).

-Gareth

Re:Shape Shifting (1)

thaiceman (2564009) | about a year and a half ago | (#43587955)

The Dominion wants to be paid royalties

They prefer to be called Changelings.

Unintelligible summary (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43581117)

Must be on /.

What the fuck are you talking about? A clam phone? T1000 liquid metal alloy?

Re:Unintelligible summary (5, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581175)

Actually describing what the new technology does? That doesn't seem important... What we need in this summary is technology buzzwords.

Perfectly clear to me (3, Funny)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581339)

Oh, come now! What part of:

the term 'shape resolution' and its ten features, to describe the resolution of an interactive device: in addition to display and touch resolution

did you not understand? ;-)

Re:Unintelligible summary (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581261)

Must be on /.

What the fuck are you talking about? A clam phone? T1000 liquid metal alloy?

the paper is on a .fr and doesn't load.

it must be some new french jackets.

seriously though. it seems they've come up with a wire that can contract if electricity is put through to it and stay that way? there's a video on the first link. so eh, it's about jackets. I guess it might be cool and all, but I keep wondering that why the demos are so lame and if it had some new property as an actuator, why the fuck waste it on cardboard and not use it for industrial purposes?

Re:Unintelligible summary (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581285)

to further clarify, it's not about flexible displays or new flexible conductors or stuff that those "morphees" actually need to get invented to be shape shifting mobile devices like a phone that you could roll on your wrist(or well, in that case it would be the element that causes it to roll up, but somehow I never saw that as the big hurdle).

Re:Unintelligible summary (1)

Tx (96709) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581469)

Given your handle, I'd like to say "clear as gl4ss" , but I'm not sure I have much more of a clue after reading your posts than I did after reading the summary ;).

Re:Unintelligible summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43581377)

I spoke with your mother on her clam phone. I think she's been cheating on me, something sounded fishy.

Re:Unintelligible summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43582243)

Talkin' a smartphone dildo, you can enable the velociometer to the vibrate feature. Finally, you can stick that smartphone where the sun don't shine!

Re:Unintelligible summary (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year and a half ago | (#43582269)

It's another UI prototype about paper-thin hardware; in this case it bends when you touch it. It's not a finished product, though. "Prototypes" in this case means "we wired up a piece of cardboard and a projector to simulate what we think this one day might be like, maybe, just so we could explore interface design questions."

For the past several years HCI research has been pursuing various paper-thin interactions (another example [queensu.ca] , from my alma mater.) As a general rule they're very novel and creative ideas, but as far as I can tell there isn't a soul on the planet who would actually want to try and use such a horrible pseudo-skeumorphic mess. Paper's just too thin and delicate to use as a UI device.

But don't be too hard on the summary: they managed to avoid scarring your eyes forever with the prototypes' actual name, which is so horrible you'd think it was invented to market toys to six-year-olds.

arrgh (2)

redneckmother (1664119) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581155)

Never put a shape shifting mobe in your back pocket, lest it bite (byte?) you in the ass.

Re:arrgh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43581317)

It's your fault for downloading the Marv Albert app.

Behold... The Flip Phone! (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581187)

Amazing! A phone that shifts shape from a small lump, to a flat bar! Wow! If only we had had these kinds of phones in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it would have revolutionized the cell phone industry.
 
What will they think of next, phones without physical buttons???

Re:Behold... The Flip Phone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43581421)

Super smartphones with physical buttons

Reverse engineer it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43581471)

For a small fee I will take your flat bar phone and turn it into a small lump. Reverse engineering is easy.

Re:Behold... The Flip Phone! (1)

GonzoPhysicist (1231558) | about a year and a half ago | (#43582505)

I'd actually like a flip style smart phone. It could have a larger screen and still fit in your pocket and stay protected. And you get the satisfying bonus of slapping it shut when your done with a call.

more than meets the eye... (1)

dragon-file (2241656) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581233)

meh... they're probably robots in disguise.

Re:more than meets the eye... (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581319)

meh... they're probably robots in disguise.

And they run the Android OS.

Re:more than meets the eye... (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581347)

they're a mimetic poly-alloy

Re:more than meets the eye... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43581723)

Meh. E-Dust would be nicer.

title is a bit off (2)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581253)

The article is a survey of a number of different approaches to reconfigurable materials as applied to mobile devices, and proposes some criteria for how to quantify the "resolution" of the reconfigurability along a number of axes, like morphology and curvature and area and whatnot. I have not read it in enough depth to determine how useful it is as an analytical tool, but it's essentially proposing an analytical tool to use to understand this area and guide further developments.

Incidentally, if you're interested in such materials, you may also be interested in self-reconfiguring modular robots [wikipedia.org] .

Video of these Devices (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43581325)

A video is available on Youtube : Devices [youtube.com]

Re:Video of these Devices (1)

tibman (623933) | about a year and a half ago | (#43584051)

Boo this man

Can I have one that turns into a mongoose? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43581337)

I like mongeese.

I didn't read the article.

Re:Can I have one that turns into a mongoose? (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | about a year and a half ago | (#43582469)

Can I have one that turns into a mongoose?

My cellphone turned to a newt. It got better!

Hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43581415)

From TFA:
"The device could also transform into a sphere to serve as a stress ball," ..and then break, enabling you to enjoy the pleasure of buying another one!

Better Summary (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43581445)

All they're doing is evaluating memory alloys and electroactive polymers for mobile scenarios, and just barely at that. This is very early stage research, none of what is shown has any nearby practical reliable uses until it's much further developed.

Re:Better Summary (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about a year and a half ago | (#43581937)

The AC nailed it. If I had a mod point it would go here. I would expect customized interface (i.e buttons/keyboards) to be high on the list of wants, but this was mostly about small changes to the global shape of a flexible phone case. It's hard to extrapolate an actual USE for the current subject, beyond a simple novelty.

Let's complete the buzzword bingo card (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43581743)

It's also 3D printed, from asteroid material, in private space capsules.

flying mobile devices! (1)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43582021)

Bah, who cares about shape shifting mobile devices. What about flying mobile devices? I prototyped that yesterday when I knocked my tablet off the table. Flying mobile devices must be just around the corner!

I will believe it when I see it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43582315)

I am still waiting for my flying car.

Researcher names (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43582359)

"The research, led by Dr Anne Roudaut and Professor Sriram Subramanian, from the University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science"
Now, we have a French name and an Indian name. It's a continuation of a trend I've been seeing for the last 10 years, with US-based researches being lead by (arguably) non-US citizens (as in: people not born in the US or born of immigrants).

So I have to ask: where are all the US-based great minds? Working for these researchers? Just wondering.

Re:Researcher names (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | about a year and a half ago | (#43582871)

Sadly, attempting to be the next rap/R&B star, great athlete, or lawyer takes precedence in most US youths' minds...

Re:Researcher names (1)

cybernanga (921667) | about a year and a half ago | (#43583501)

Even worse, University of Bristol, is not even in the US, how dare they have foreign researchers at a foreign University.

Re:Researcher names (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43583893)

HUH, I'm a noob, I skimmed over the name and have read "Boston" :)
Fair enough, but my question then broadens to cover UK as well, because even there I have seen the same trend.

Re: Researcher names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43584433)

hope this doesn't get your panties in a bunch but two out of the four authors on the paper are Indian, one is French and the last one is German. The research was carried out in UK. I'd say science knows no national boundaries but I guess it would be lost on the 'we are the greatest' crowd.

Re: Researcher names (1)

war4peace (1628283) | about a year and a half ago | (#43585981)

Oh no, I totally agree, but I'm thinking... given the extra steps a foreign scientist needs to take to reach research ownership in a different country, compared to "local" scientists, maybe this indirectly tells something, as in "local scientists are being surpassed by foreign scientists in terms of knowledge and dedication".

Re: Researcher names (1)

Xest (935314) | about a year and a half ago | (#43588557)

Or maybe it's simply that the UK and US have the most successful university systems in the UK and so foreign researchers are happy to flock here because they recognise that.

There are far more "foreigners" than there are Brits or Americans, so if we allow the best and brightest in from other countries it makes sense that we're going to be outnumbered.

Personally I welcome it. More intellect in our society is a fantastic thing.

Re:Researcher names (1)

cybernanga (921667) | about a year and a half ago | (#43585443)

I was being flippant, but....

As migration of people around the world increases, surely there's bound to be more incidents of "foreign" names appearing in various places. Doesn't this just reflect the state of the "Global Village" we all find ourselves in?

Re:Researcher names (1)

mjwx (966435) | about a year and a half ago | (#43586927)

"The research, led by Dr Anne Roudaut and Professor Sriram Subramanian, from the University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science"
Now, we have a French name and an Indian name. It's a continuation of a trend I've been seeing for the last 10 years, with US-based researches being lead by (arguably) non-US citizens (as in: people not born in the US or born of immigrants).

So I have to ask: where are all the US-based great minds? Working for these researchers? Just wondering.

Why cant they have good 'Murican names like Einstein, Fermi, Heisenberg and Von Braun.

Re:Researcher names (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43591441)

"The research, led by Dr Anne Roudaut and Professor Sriram Subramanian, from the University of Bristol's Department of Computer Science"

Now, we have a French name and an Indian name. It's a continuation of a trend I've been seeing for the last 10 years, with US-based researches being lead by (arguably) non-US citizens (as in: people not born in the US or born of immigrants).

So I have to ask: where are all the US-based great minds? Working for these researchers? Just wondering.

Why cant they have good 'Murican names like Einstein, Fermi, Heisenberg and Von Braun.

If you were thinking about Smith or Jones, think again. Those are European! If you want American, go for Sasquatch or something along those lines.

Why? (1)

freeze128 (544774) | about a year and a half ago | (#43582889)

What problem does this fix? Why do we need morphing phones?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43584211)

Obviously, it fixes the lack of morphing phones.

Great, let's increase the number of moving parts.. (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | about a year and a half ago | (#43583465)

It's always been an engineering rule of thumb: reducing the number of moving parts generally increases reliability and decreases maintenance. You may or may not be able to get as good a performance out of the end result, but at least there's less potential for random, fatigue-based breakage...

The reverse? *sigh* Landfills cringe at the thought...

Old. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43584967)

I've got a shape shifting mobile device. It's call a flip phone.

could this be used for loudspeakers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43585335)

I wonder what would happen if you could change the shape of the cone to change the tone (more bass/movie mode = deeper cone, switching the classical/jazz = shallower cone)?

Oh great! (1)

dohzer (867770) | about a year and a half ago | (#43585999)

I just love it when companies add points-of-fai... sorry, I mean 'mechanical features' to my electronic devices.

My but plug is ringing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43586077)

Hold on, My but plug is ringing.

So Decepticon Soundwave (1)

TuxWithoutPants (2719479) | about a year and a half ago | (#43586869)

is actually a mobile phone?
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