There was a lot of noise a couple years ago about Nokia’s Morph (mentioned briefly in my Feb. 17, 2009 posting and my March 30, 2010 posting) a mobile phone which could wrap around your wrist. As far as I know, an animation is all that exists of the Morph. However, I have come across an article about the Morph and the research centre in Cambridge where much of the work is being done. From the article on the Nokia Conversation blog,
Getting into a Nokia Research Center laboratory isn’t easy. The security doors remain open long enough for one or two people to enter and if held open too long, will sound what we’re told is an exceptionally loud alarm. Lucky then that we were part of a group taken around NRC’s Cambridge laboratory to see some of the latest scientific problems being solved there. We were treated to demoes of three different strands of research; Nanowire Sensing, Stretchable Electronic Skin and Electrotactile Experience. [emphasis mine]
I gather that any or all three of these research areas could be applicable in some fashion to the Morph, should there be prototype.
Nanowire sensing could allow your phone to sniff (be an artificial nose). Here’s a video about nanowire sensing,
Here’s a video on stretchable electronic skin,
For the elecrotactile experience, I did not find a video so I’m back to the article,
The third of our demoes [sic] was also the most realistic, as it was being shown off on a Nokia N900. The team is working on ways to enable touchscreens to offer more realistic feedback. This goes way beyond simple haptics to deliver genuine tactile response. The team are influenced by the belief that the sensation of touch isn’t currently well understood so they’re trying to work out ways to make it more effective when interacting with technology.
You can see after viewing this Morph animation, how stretchable electronic skin will be applied and how useful research into electrotactile experiences will be for this product,
As for a mobile telephone with an artificial nose, I wouldn’t think that’s especially useful but, in the beginning, I didn’t think camera and videotaping capabilities would be useful either and I was wrong.