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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Flexible Thinking, Nanotechnology Lead to Nokia’s “Morph” Concept Phone

Nokia has built a flexible mobile phone using nanotechnology which the company says will become increasingly commonplace in the future.

The Morph device can be used as a keyboard, then bent around the wrist and worn as a bracelet.

The handset giant first touted the system five years ago and it has taken researchers at the Nokia Research Centre in Cambridge this long to get a working prototype.

Dr Tapani Ryhanen, head of the research centre, said: "We hope that this combination of art and science will showcase the potential of nanoscience to a wider audience.

"The research we are carrying out is fundamental to this as we seek a safe and controlled way to develop and use new materials."

Nokia claimed that the technology will be in mainstream phones by 2015, but that there are technical challenges still to overcome. Chief among these is power, and Nokia is investigating the use of new battery materials.

Professor Mark Welland, head of the Nanoscience Group at the University of Cambridge, said: "Developing the Morph concept with Nokia has provided us with a focus that is artistically inspirational and sets the technology agenda for our joint nanoscience research."

Nokia Research Center and the University of Cambridge announced a research partnership, and here we have the first fruits of their labor, though this is far from being ready for consumers.

The Morph is a nanotechnology-based concept phone. It’s flexible and stretchable, has self-cleaning surfaces and transparent electronics, has solar charging. It’s so flexible it can even wrap around your wrist when not in use. Give it the ability to wrap around your wrist when in use, a webcam feature and you’ve got yourself a Dick Tracy wrist TV.

The Morph is on display from February 25th through May 12, 2008, at the “Design and the Elastic Mind” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

While I wouldn’t expect to see any of this tech anytime soon, Nokia does say it is possible at least some elements of its design could see the light of day in actual phones within the next seven years.

And people wonder how Nokia keeps its market-leading position.

Watch a video with the Morph in “action”:

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