The technology landscape is constantly changing and evolving, but the way we interact with devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers—aside from the advancement in touch screen technology—has remained relatively static. Paddle, a shape-shifting smartphone designed by the researchers at iMinds – EDM – UHasselt, changes all of that.
Over the course of seven months, the team, lead by Raf Ramakers, did extensive testing and research to create a prototype, which he states, “proposes a completely different way of interacting with a computing device.”
The concept of Paddle, inspired by the Rubik’s Magic Puzzle, is composed of eight linked square tiles that can be manipulated to create 15 different shapes—a number that is increasing daily. Currently, Paddle uses an external optical tracking and projector system that coordinates changes in the device’s shape to correspond with specific functional capabilities of the phone as the user interacts with the device. However, for the future, the team is pursuing a prototype that is entirely self-contained with tiny integrated displays.