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Shape-changing cellphones could be the future

5:53am EDT - 01:33

A prototype modular interactive device called Cubimorph could herald a future where gamers can transform their phone into a games console or a variety of other electronic devices. Jim Drury reports.

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A prototype modular interactive device called Cubimorph could herald a future where gamers can transform their phone into a games console or a variety of other electronic devices. Jim Drury reports. This could be the future of mobile phones. Cubimorph is a prototype chain of plastic cubes forming a modular device of touchscreens. SOUNDBITE (English) DR ABHIJIT KARNIK, FROM LANCASTER UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "This is a chain of modules which are connected to each other and when you want to design a shape out of a chain you need to transform the whole chain into a different shape by making it twist and turn, and that twisting and turning itself is a complex process and therefore the algorithm that we provide lets us achieve those things within specific constraints." A hinge-mounted turntable mechanism allows the user to reconfigure the device's shape in seconds. For instance, it could be used to transform a cell phone into a games console. SOUNDBITE (English) DR ABHIJIT KARNIK, COMPUTING LECTURER FROM LANCASTER UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "All of us have a smartphone device in our pocket and we're using the smartphone device for a lot of activities that we do on a daily basis. So the objective of this project is to allow the affordances (possibilities) to come back into the device, so that we don't have to just work something which is just flat, that doesn't have a tactile feel, that doesn't have a shape. You actually go forward and say that everything that you're using will therefore have the shape that is required or that is best suited for the activity that you are trying to perform." The design team, from the universities of Bristol, Purdue, Sussex, and Lancaster wants a future version to incorporate hundreds of interactive modules. They think commercial versions could be widespread within 15 years.

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Shape-changing cellphones could be the future

5:53am EDT - 01:33