Shape-changing smartphone curls to notify of incoming calls

1 min read

Researchers in Canada have created a smartphone that can morph its shape to give users a silent yet visual cue of an incoming phone call, text message or email.

Dubbed MorePhone, the device is made of a thin, flexible electrophoretic display manufactured by UK firm Plastic Logic. Sandwiched beneath the display are a number of shape memory alloy wires that contract when the phone notifies the user. This allows the phone to either curl either its entire body, or up to three individual corners. Each corner can be tailored to convey a particular message. For example, users can set the top right corner of the MorePhone to bend when receiving a text message, and the bottom right corner when receiving an email. Corners can also repeatedly bend up and down to convey messages of greater urgency. "This is another step in the direction of radically new interaction techniques afforded by smartphones based on thin film, flexible display technologies" said Roel Vertegaal, director of the Human Media Lab at Queen's University, who helped develop the flexible PaperPhone and PaperTab.