Shapeshifting MorePhone Curls Up to Draw Attention

Missing calls is quite easy, even when the phone is within your visual field. To avoid this, a team of Canadian researchers developed MorePhone, a smartphone that changes its shape when receiving a text or a call.

Roel Vertegaal (School of Computing), Director of the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, coordinated the development of the MorePhone. More than that, he is also the mind between two other innovative concepts: the PaperPhone and the PaperTab. These were also mentioned because the three have a lot of background in common.

To be more specific, MorePhone includes a thin, flexible electrophoretic display that resembles e-ink in terms of color reproduction and refresh rate.

Vertagaal claims that this concept will redefine how people work with their mobile devices: “This is another step in the direction of radically new interaction techniques afforded by smartphones based on thin film, flexible display technologies.”

He goes on to explain how MorePhone offers a different type of feedback: “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. With MorePhone, they can leave their smartphone on the table and observe visual shape changes when someone is trying to contact them.”

Since the Human Media Lab created three concepts including the thin and flexible display MorePhone is based on, it’s rather clear that Vertagaal believes in this technology. I’d say that he’s not the only one, as Samsung has something similar in the works, too, but with LED displays. Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to see this concept turned into reality, preferably into a smaller form factor.

I don’t know what kind of desks they’re using in Canada, but where I’m from, if the phone is set to vibrate on notifications and it’s placed directly on the working area, the vibration is transmitted throughout the entire surface, so it’s quite impossible to miss, even when wearing headphones. At least this is the scenario that they came up with in the promotional video, which you can watch below.

Supposing this concept ever gets implemented into a mass-produced smartphone, I really hope for the sake of it that it has some decent dimensions. I’m by no means a pretentious person, but I’d be ashamed to go out and about carrying something as big as the MorePhone prototype anywhere near me.

If you liked this post, please check the initial announcement of the Samsung flexible display screens and the Samsung foldable displays that the Korean company showcased at CES 2013.