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'Curling' smartphone changes shape to notify of calls, texts, emails

April 29, 2013 at 4:32 PM   |   Comments

KINGSTON, Ontario, April 29 (UPI) -- Canadian scientists say they've developed a smartphone that can change its shape to give users a silent but visible cue of incoming call, text or email.

Researchers at Queen's University in Ontario say the MorePhone is made of a thin, flexible electrophoretic display with a number of shape memory alloy wires underneath that contract when the phone notifies the user.

"This is another step in the direction of radically new interaction techniques afforded by smartphones based on thin film, flexible display technologies," Roel Vertegaal of the university's Human Media Lab said.

"Users are familiar with hearing their phone ring or feeling it vibrate in silent mode. One of the problems with current silent forms of notification is that users often miss notifications when not holding their phone," he said.

"With MorePhone, they can leave their smartphone on the table and observe visual shape changes when someone is trying to contact them."

The phone can either curl either its entire body or up to three individual corners. Each corner can be tailored to convey a notification of a particular king of message, Vertegaal said; for example, an upper corner could denote a text message while a lower corner could inform the using of an email.

While MorePhone is a prototype, bendable, flexible cellphones could be in the hands of consumers within five to 10 years, he said.

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