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Researchers to Unveil Shape-Changing Mobile Devices

Apr 29, 2013 08:15 AM EDT

A team of researchers from the University of Bristol is about to unveil a prototype of mobile devices that can change shape on demand. The device is based on the team's concept of Morphees - shape-changing devices to accommodate an application.


The study team believes that in the future, users can download an app along with a dedicated form factor such as a stress-ball application, where the phone transforms into a stress-ball.

"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," said Dr. Anne Roudaut, Research Assistant in the Department of Computer Science's Bristol Interaction and Graphics group, according to a news release.

The team has built six prototypes, such as a shape-shifting memory alloy and an electro-active polymer. They then compared the "shape resolution" to compared resolution of these devices.

A research paper on the subject will be presented at the ACM CHI 2013, a conference being held in Paris, France.

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