Phones get flexible

Future mobile phones could be bent and stretched into different shapes based on a concept model unveiled by CambridgeUniversity and the Nokia Research Centre (NRC).

The companies launched their joint nanotechnology concept, dubbed Morph, to demonstrate how future mobile devices might be stretchable and flexible, allowing the user to transform their mobile device into radically different shapes. The project aims to show that ultimately nanotechnology might be capable of delivering flexible materials, transparent electronics and self-cleaning surfaces.

Prof Mark Welland, head of Cambridge’s Nanoscience Group and director of the Nokia-Cambridge collaboration, said: ‘Developing the Morph concept with Nokia has provided us with a focus that is both artistically inspirational but, more importantly, sets the technology agenda for our joint nanoscience research that will stimulate our future work together.’

Dr Tapani Ryhanen, head of Nokia’s NRC CambridgeUK laboratory, said: ‘We hope that this combination of art and science will showcase the potential of nanoscience to a wider audience. The techniques we are developing might one day mean new possibilities in terms of the design and function of mobile devices. The research we are carrying out is fundamental to this as we seek a safe and controlled way to develop and use new materials. ‘

The partnership between the Cambridge and Nokia was launched in March 2007 with the aim collaborating on a long term programme of joint research projects. NRC has established a research facility at the University’s West Cambridge site and collaborates with several departments, initially the Nanoscience Centre and Electrical Division of the Engineering Department on projects centred on nanotechnology.