By Hanna Biassonava
Ten years ago, we would not have been able to imagine the technology that is available today. Take the smartphone, GPS, Bluetooth, wireless charging, or wearable technology, all of which have had major improvements. But what awaits these tiny, powerful computers next?
When asked what he looks forward to in smartphone innovation, Edmon Rober ‘17 (software engineering major) says, “The cooler the phones the better, as long as the quality of the phones doesn’t reduce, and it functions as a computer would (or close to it).” After all, what more could we want from cell phones, aside from versions that break less, have longer battery life, or look better?
Smartphones have been developed that bend, send smells, and photograph in three dimensions. Within a decade it will be possible to sell these commercially. Ariel Tolosa ‘17 (software engineering major), is looking forward to all these innovations. “Honestly, I’d be surprised and a bit curious as to how scientists would be able to implement such things,” she wonders. The answer is unexpectedly conclusive.
Flexible phones, like those which allow the user to view the screen from an angle and can withstand someone sitting on them, already exist, but are only a preview of what is to come.
What we can look forward to is a completely foldable device. Strong, flexible glass material for the display has already been figured out. However, internal components of the phone, like the batteries, processors, and camera modules are not very flexible. Engineers are trying to implement shaped batteries and flexible printed circuit boards to make bendable phones a possibility.
“Smelly” phones that can send scents are going to introduce a completely new form of communication. Imagine being able to make your friends’ phones smell like flowers, spices, even bacon!
Smell-sending phones have had recent success, currently selling as an extensional plug-in for your phone, the plug has cartridges of different smells. Unfortunately, because it is unconventional, progress is slow. Ms.Tolosa backs this point by saying, “at first glance, people are going to dismiss [this feature] as silly and unnecessary.”
Phones with new depth-sensing capabilities open more doors than the odor phones, such as the ability to make a game with your room as the map layout, or show potential buyers the layout of a house. Although 3D cameras already exist, they are not yet a conventional part of a smartphone. Three dimensional phone cameras take two pictures with two separate camera lenses and calculate where objects are located in relation to the two centers of projection. This innovation, like the others, has not been efficient economically, hence its apparent absence from the market.
As more features are added to our smartphones, even more are thought off and created. Michelle Abreu ‘17 (media major) takes a guarded stance, “The ‘phone’ aspect of a cell phone will be taken away, just as the internet caused phones to change in meaning forever.” These three innovations will change the way we use phones yet again, and not for the last time. Just imagine using a foldable, smelly smartphone with a depth sensing camera and thinking up new ideas to make our smartphones even better – perhaps paper-thin devices?