What will your cell phone look like in the future? By the year 2030 will we even carry a device around with us or will smartphone chips be implanted under our skin at birth? The shift in mobile technology is already well underway. It used to be only business people who wanted to obsessively check their emails or very slowly surf the web had a smartphone. Then, along came the iPhone and suddenly everyone had to have a smartphone—in fact any other phone is downright prehistoric in today’s society. Concept phones that are currently being created prove that the smartphones we use to take photos, upload images, listen to music, and even make purchases with, are becoming older with every passing day. So what is next for mobile phones of the future?
The first smartphones were often referred to as ‘hand-held computers’, but now it seems smartphones are more popular than your dusty desktop computer—or even laptop! PC and laptop sales have been trending down for years, that’s because everyone is getting a smartphone or tablet instead. Your phone operates like a computer and is usually more readily accessible, plus when purchased using an upgrade, phones often cost less than computers. It’s this accessibility that your cell phone offers turning many other everyday household items obsolete. Who needs a real alarm clock anymore when your cell phone can wake you up using more advanced features than the standard 3-button alarm clock? Perhaps you still need a scientific calculator, but basic adding, subtracting and dividing can also take place on your cell phone calculator, who needs to waste space storing a basic calculator anymore? Stop watch, same thing! The watch in general is becoming solely a fashion statement—many don’t even set it to the right time, it’s faster to look at your cell phone instead.
As phones are used for more and more things, design engineers compete to come up with more advanced models. Just like concept cars, not all concept phones will hit your local cell phone store. Still, looking at the features engineers are incorporating in concept phones gives us a good idea about where mobile technology is headed and what we are currently capable of. There are a number of wild concept phones out there, hinting at the mass changes cell phones will soon undergo. Just try and picture your own cell phone from 6-10 years ago, a far ring from the smartphone you depend on today.
The technological innovation has just begun, take the iPhone Projector concept for example, a phone that would use a watch to project a hologram onto your hand, where you could use your phone by simply touching your own skin! In this week’s blog we detail some of the greatest concept phones currently in production—some with features we can’t wait to get our hands on. Plus, we dig deeper to find out what we can really expect from future mobile technology. The Phone Clutch Kyocera’s EOS
The Kyocera’s EOS concept phone has a very unique design. When opened, it spreads apart like a clam, revealing a full keyboard and curved screen. When you close the phone it actually folds over itself so that it looks kind of like a woman’s clutch. The keys on this phone are even smart, rising up when they are in use, and flattening when they are not. No need for a bulky charger, Kyocera’s EOS concept phone uses your kinetic energy to charge itself, therefore the more that you use your phone the more charge it will have. 2 design teams, one in San Diego and the other in Bangalore, are currently working on perfecting this device (Read Here).
Screens Are So Yesterday: Concept Phone By Mac Funamizu
Mac Funamizu is a designer on a mission he calls, turning the Nokia Aeon into a phone that can actually compete with Apple’s far more popular iPhone device. The result is a phone completely different than anything you’ve ever seen before. This concept phone does not have a screen but instead the whole device is a screen. Depending on how you want to use the phone, the text, images and keypad appear like magic on all parts of the concept phone’s surface.
The LG Helix Bracelet Concept Phone
Remember those bracelets you could slap on your wrist as a kid? Now imagine this same concept but with a phone attached. Designer Rob Luna has created a touch screen phone that literally snaps onto your wrist like a bracelet. The whole device is created using rubber and stainless steel. This device also feeds off of your kinetic energy to charge itself.
Fancy Bracelet Concept Phone
It has been said that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but these days more and more people are asking for technology instead of fashionable goods. Tao Ma is a concept phone designer trying to incorporate the two—sophisticated jewelry and cell phone technology. His current prototype phone creation looks nothing like a phone. Instead it appears like a pretty bracelet that can even be embellished with some stones. But this is no ordinary bracelet; it can receive messages and calls, altering you with a convenient vibration. Although in order to access your message you will have to remove the bracelet to read it. This seems a bit tedious to become popular, not to mention the screen would have to be very tiny—can you imagine watching a movie on the back of a bracelet?
Project Modai Concept Phone
Unlike other prototype phones, Project Modai doesn’t look particularly different but it does feature some wild capabilities. Perhaps the greatest is the phone’s alarm. When it goes off the phone actually jumps up onto its kickstand to face you—ensuring that even the deepest sleepers wake up. If you want to hit snooze, simply push the phone back down into a horizontal position. Julius Tarng designed this concept phone to be friendlier than your current smartphone, which claims capable of reading your emotions. It also has awareness of what you are doing and the type of situation you are currently in so that it can adjust its themes and even change facial expressions (yes, the phone has facial expressions—fun huh!?).
While Project Modai sounds awesome, like all concept phones it won’t necessarily make it on the market anytime soon—if at all. Still, these phones give us a good idea about what future technology is capable of including. While we don’t know which concept phones will break into mainstream and which will sit pretty on a shelf in an engineer’s office, there are a few things we know for sure. First and foremost, future cell phones won’t have a charger—who needs one when current concept phones are already using your natural energy to charge. Perhaps one day you’ll forget what it’s like to worry about your cell phone charge getting low, wouldn’t that be great?
3D printing is huge right now—it seems every industry is talking about it. 3-D printing allows you to ‘print’ any 3-dimensional object using only a digital model. There is no drilling or messy mending with the 3D printing process, and everything is done with the accuracy of a human-like robot. The 3D printer business is estimated to be worth over 2 billion dollars, and if you can afford to purchase a 3D printer of your own you can create everything from fully functional toys to cell phones!
3D Systems Corporations is one of the largest names behind the 3D printer business, and they believe they can change the future of cell phones. They are currently working with Google to create a personalized phone like none other. Using 3D printer technology it is easier and faster than ever to manufacture phones, for this reason Project Ara is all about creating a cell phone that pieces together like a puzzle, allowing users to pick which pieces they like best for their mobile device.
Say you love your phone camera but are not too happy about the battery life, Project Ara would allow you to change pieces on your phone while keeping the same overall device. These pieces can be printed in either a soft or hard coating, allowing you to decide what your phone feels like to the touch. You can pick what color your phone comes in as well, choosing a different color for every piece if you want (See Here). Even cell phone antennas will be printable, Project Ara is currently working with X5 Systems and Carnegie Mellon University to create the perfect 3D printed antenna. It might only be another concept phone, but Nokia (owned by Google) says it will release the phone to the public in January of 2015.
Cell phones may also be able to save your life someday by regularly checking your vitals. Medical tricorders are handheld devices that can scan you and within seconds know your current body vitals. Including your blood oxygenation, temperature, electrical heart activity, heart rate, and pulse transit time. The inventor, Walter de Brouwer thinks it is essential you have a small, affordable device that can quickly track your health. With his advanced team of engineers Brouwer is now busy taking it to the next level, creating a device that will also detect infections and diseases right away. One day soon he believes that this device will be just as common as the household thermometer.
So what does this have to do with your cell phone? Future smartphones might potentially include technology like this, making your phone more than just a personal assistant (thanks Siri) but also a mother/doctor all in one. According to doctors, if your cell phone regularly scanned your vitals you’d have a collection of your average data, making it easy to identify the moment something goes wrong.
Some of Brouwer’s current inventions already work with the cell phone, such as the ScanaFlo, which requires you to pee on a stick and then take a photo of it with your phone. An accompanying app then scans the image and tells you what the color depicts about your health, without you having to determine which shade you qualify under. This can be used to determine things like pregnancy complications or kidney failure. Your phone hopefully won’t turn into a pee stick, but Brouwer and his team clearly have the phone in mind with their high tech health inventions. In other words, it might not be long before you can find out your resting heart rate with a click of your smartphone.
The evolution of the cell phone has been so fast paced it can start to make young people feel old. We have seen the cell phone go from a clunky device with a black and white screen, to a sleek and colorful device capable of tasks once reserved for your computer. Your smartphone can help you locate a great new restaurant or share photos with your friends and family. Millions of dollars are currently being invested to further smartphone technology, meaning who knows what your phone will be capable of 5, or even 10 years from now. At My Broken Phone we can’t wait to see what changes are ahead, and no mater what your future smart phone looks like we will be here ready to fix it.