We have covered content from the ‘TED’ talks before, specifically on the notion of using a headset capable of reading brainwaves in order to essentially control a computer with your thoughts.
Now a PHD student called Fabian Hemmert has used the TED talks to discuss his theories on the future of mobile phones by asking “how can we make digital content graspable?”
He starts by discussing the progression of technology, and how it’s becoming increasingly interactive. Rather than everything being controlled with buttons, we now have touchscreen displays controlling more and more technology. The same counts for the Nintendo Wii, it responds to our movements and has been such a success that Microsoft and Sony are following up with similar motion sensitive devices for the Xbox 360 and PS3 respectively.
Working from the above principles of the evolution of human interaction and technology, Fabian divides his discussion into 3 notions of the future of ‘graspable’ interactive technology, including his own rudimentary mock-ups of how these technologies would work.
This takes the idea of an accelerometer and builds on it. Imagine a free moving weight inside your mobile that you could manipulate by moving the phone, consequently moving the weight within.
This could also work with the phone interacting with you, rather than you interacting with the phone. Imagine using a map service to navigate your way around a city you don’t know. Instead of holding the phone up and staring at the screen to see your directions, you can just hold the handset in your hand and the internal weight moves either left or right to direct you, meaning you are able to look at the city around you whilst the handset feeds you information through the weighting of the phone.
Hemmert’s second idea is a shape-shifting mobile phone. Imagine a handset that is small in your pocket, but has the potential to expand and change shape to help with functionality. One practical use for this would be for content that won’t fit on one screen, the screen would ‘lean’ in one direction indicating that there is more content and in which direction it is in.
Taking his ideas one step further Hemmert introduces his idea for a “living mobile phone”. It is a conventional mobile phone shape, except it interacts with you – for example with its heartbeat. A normal heartbeat indicates you have no new notifications, but an elevated heartbeat indicates that you have a message or a missed call. To both access the information and to calm your phone down you would stroke the screen, as you do already to unlock many touchscreen handsets.
A lot of his ideas are a long way from becoming a reality, and I’m sure many of you are considering them far-fetched and unnecessary. But he makes a valid point when he says “humans should not get more technical in the future, rather technology a bit more human”.
Let us know what you think the future holds for the mobile phone and general technology in the future in the comment section below.
To see the full video for yourself follow the link below: