The Nokia Morph is a concept mobile phone. The concept, which was unveiled on February 25, 2008 at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, was the product of a joint study into the future of mobile phones by the Nokia Research Center and the University of Cambridge’s Nanoscience Centre. The device was presented as part of the museum’s “Design and The Elastic Mind” exhibit. According to Bob Lannucci, Nokia’s chief technology officer, the “Nokia Research Center is looking at ways to reinvent the form and function of mobile devices… The Morph concept shows what might be possible.”
The device is intended to provide a conceptual showcase for future applications of nanotechnology in the realm of consumer electronics. The phone’s theoretical feature list would include the ability to bend into numerous shapes, so it can be worn around the wrist or held up to the face; transparent electronics, which would allow the device to be see-through yet functional; self-cleaning surfaces that can absorb solar energy to recharge the phone’s battery; and a wide range of fully integrated sensors. Nokia released a computer-generated video demonstrating the capabilities the Morph might have if it were a real mobile phone. The manufacturer believes that some of the device’s imagined features could appear in high-end devices by 2015.
Launched alongside The Museum of Modern Art “Design and The Elastic Mind” exhibition, the Morph concept device is a bridge between highly advanced technologies and their potential benefits to end-users. This device concept showcases some revolutionary leaps being explored by Nokia Research Center (NRC) in collaboration with the Cambridge Nanoscience Centre (United Kingdom) – nanoscale technologies that will potentially create a world of radically different devices that open up an entirely new spectrum of possibilities.
Morph is a concept demonstrating some of the possibilities nanotechnologies might enable in future communication devices. Morph can sense its environment, is energy harvesting and self cleaning.
Nokia’s new Morph concept phone would use nanotechnology to give it a flexible body with a transparent display that could be re-shaped depending on the user’s needs, a far cry from today’s solid and chunky devices. Even the electronics inside it would be transparent and flexible, so the whole phone may be twisted and stretched into bracelet shapes or tablet form, and nanotech cleverness means it would even clean itself. Developed in cooperation with Cambridge University, this glimpse of a distant future is now on display at the MoMA in New York.
Morph is a flexible two-piece device that can adapt its shape to different use modes. Nanotechnology enables to have adaptive materials yet rigid forms on demand.
Morph concept technologies might create fantastic opportunities for mobile devices:
Newly-enabled flexible and transparent materials blend more seamlessly with the way we live
Devices become self-cleaning and self-preserving
Transparent electronics offering an entirely new aesthetic dimension
Built-in solar absorption might charge a device, whilst batteries become smaller, longer lasting and faster to charge
Integrated sensors might allow us to learn more about the environment around us, empowering us to make better choices
In addition to the advances above, the integrated electronics shown in the Morph concept could cost less and include more functionality in a much smaller space, even as interfaces are simplified and usability is enhanced. All of these new capabilities will unleash new applications and services that will allow us to communicate and interact in unprecedented ways.
Flexible & Changing Design
Nanotechnology enables materials and components that are flexible, stretchable, transparent and remarkably strong. Fibril proteins are woven into a three dimensional mesh that reinforces thin elastic structures. Using the same principle behind spider silk, this elasticity enables the device to literally change shapes and configure itself to adapt to the task at hand.
A folded design would fit easily in a pocket and could lend itself ergonomically to being used as a traditional handset. An unfolded larger design could display more detailed information, and incorporate input devices such as keyboards and touch pads.
Even integrated electronics, from interconnects to sensors, could share these flexible properties. Further, utilization of biodegradable materials might make production and recycling of devices easier and ecologically friendly.
Nanotechnology also can be leveraged to create self-cleaning surfaces on mobile devices, ultimately reducing corrosion, wear and improving longevity. Nanostructured surfaces, such as “Nanoflowers” naturally repel water, dirt, and even fingerprints utilizing effects also seen in natural systems.
Advanced Power Sources
Nanotechnology holds out the possibility that the surface of a device will become a natural source of energy via a covering of “Nanograss” structures that harvest solar power. At the same time new high energy density storage materials allow batteries to become smaller and thinner, while also quicker to recharge and able to endure more charging cycles.
Sensing The Environment
Nanosensors would empower users to examine the environment around them in completely new ways, from analyzing air pollution, to gaining insight into bio-chemical traces and processes. New capabilities might be as complex as helping us monitor evolving conditions in the quality of our surroundings, or as simple as knowing if the fruit we are about to enjoy should be washed before we eat it. Our ability to tune into our environment in these ways can help us make key decisions that guide our daily actions and ultimately can enhance our health.
To learn more about the “Design and The Elastic Mind” exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art visit MoMA webpage To learn more about the Cambridge Nanoscience Centre visit htt