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Future phone devices will use nanotechnology

March 24, 2008

by Mark Ollig

The concept phone of the future is here.

Nokia Research recently announced we may be using this revolutionary communications device within the next seven years.

Nokia along with the good folks at the University of Cambridge, located in the UK, said they have been working on this project since March of 2007.

Called the “morph concept,” it is being showcased at the “Design and the Elastic Mind” exhibition until May 12, at The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The morph concept device is the bridge between highly-advanced technologies and the potential benefits for the people using it.

Morph concepts use transparent electronics and extremely flexible biodegradable materials.

Did I mention this new concept device also has a self-cleaning “superhydrophobic” surface?

The video I watched demonstrated some of this fascinating future technology.

The morph concept is based on nanotechnology.

When working with nanotechnology, we are working with materials that are very small.

How small are we talking here?

Well, nanoscale technologies are invisible to the human eye.

By using nanotechnology, we could install 10,000 transistors on a single hair of a fly.

“Nano” is Greek for the word “dwarf.”

A nanometer is 0.000000001 meters long, a billionth of a unit or 1 x 10-9.

I begin to get a headache when trying to understand nanotechnology, so let’s just say it’s part of the “magical technology” of the future.

The communications device I saw using nanotechnology and the morph concept, looked like a greenish cardboard-thin rectangular cell phone.

The device used a transparent and flexible touch-screen display.

It also had a small, detachable piece that either clips onto the ear as a headset or attaches to the device as a speaker.

This clip closely resembled a wireless ear-bud we see folks wearing all the time.

Nanotechnology provides components that are remarkably strong, yet bendable and lightweight.

The integrated nanoscale technologies used will potentially create a world of completely new and different devices, which in turn, will open up a totally new range of possibilities.

Morph concept technologies will have built-in solar “absorption devices,” which will assist in its re-charging.

Fibril proteins are woven into a three-dimensional mesh, which strengthens the thin elastic frameworks inside many of these morph concept devices.

Fibril is a fine fiber, which is about one nanometer in diameter.

These proteins use the same principle as spider silk webs.

The elasticity enables the device to literally change shape . . . and physically modify itself.

This flexibility allows the device to be folded into different shapes.

One photograph shows this concept device as an extremely thin wafer-like flexible communications device.

The users simply folds the device and wears it on their arm.

The wearable device can easily be programmed, like the screen-saver on your computer, to transform itself into a decorative fashion statement.

An unfolded larger design could display more detailed information, and allow for external computing devices such as keyboards and touch pads.

Nanotechnology is also environmentally “Earth-friendly.”

Being this new concept technology is utilizing biodegradable materials, the production and recycling of them is ecologically friendly.

This morph concept device also has a “green” sensing capability.

Nanotechnology transforms the surface of the device into a natural source of energy by covering it with what are called “nanoscale grass structures.” These structures, or built-in absorption “harvesters” (when magnified looks like a grass carpet), collect solar power.

The collected solar energy will charge and power the device.

Nanosensors in these devices will allow the user to examine the environment around them in entirely new ways. One way includes analyzing the air breathed by monitoring the surrounding air quality.

In the video demonstration, I saw how a person, before eating an apple, used the nanosensors on the device to determine if the apple was safe to eat.

This person waved the device in front of the apple.

When the video zoomed in at 100,000 times power, we could see the floating microscopic particles of the apple come in contact with the devices sensors, which determined and signaled the user this particular apple was unsafe to eat.

Dr. Bob Iannucci, chief technology officer for nokia, commented, “Nokia Research Center is looking at ways to reinvent the form and function of mobile devices; the morph concept shows what might be possible.”

Dr. Tapani Ryhanen, head of the Nokia Research Center at the Cambridge laboratory, 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.”

For more information, visit http://www.nokia.comlink?cid=EDITORIAL_882484.

To view an incredible video demonstrating how this new technology will be used, check out http://www.nokia.com/A4879144.