[на рус.яз. см. предыдущий пост]
To be continued.
Let’s try to keep track of some trends in the development of personal electronic devices for example cell phones.
If you watch on the top-end smartphones of all leading vendors, then thoughts come to mind immediately, that many of the devices resemble each other in appearance and are not much different functionally. The reason for this is iPhone by Apple defining a certain standard of control – multitouch which was quickly catched up by other manufacturers. As a result we see people conducting finger across the screen of phones, tablets and computers. Specialists said very much on the advantages of simple and intuitive control "multitouch", and on this we shall not dwell. Better we shall imagine the further development of cell phones in the near future.
Control comes to the next level. But the absence (or almost absence) of a tactile or touch sensations confuses us now. It is clear that taste and smell is not involved in the interface currently. In this interaction a vision is involved maximally, much more than a rumor. And touch is switched off from the human-device interface very rapidly. Actually we know:
- control of smartphones, tablets and other sensory units by fingers on a perfectly smooth surface;
- gesture control;
- voice control of phones, computers, and the smart homes;
- total automation and computerization of the processes;
- voice-to-text entry.
Now opportunities to train fingers are still plenty for a person wich not engaged in manual labor: push-button phones, remote controls, panels of microwave ovens and washing machines, various switches of lighting and ventilation, computer keyboards, etc. Let us remember that according one of theories from the time when prehistoric man picked up a stick or a stone, he was different from the ape. At the same time the grip is directly related to touch. For example the problem of capturing subjects by astronauts in outer space is widely known, because multilayer spacesuit prevents feedback from the nerve endings of the fingers. An even more serious problem lies in wait for us in the opinion of child psychologists, who argue that child development is located on the tips of his fingers. Because it even a joystick or a touch screen may not be at the fingertips of our children soon. Obviously, the child development will go the other way. Is that good or bad? The character of a British film answers this question: "Seems it is fate." Will a man from the future be ill “domestic cretinism”, when he cannot hold an ordinary pen?
But more seriously, we venture to suggest that in the near future people will want personal devices that carry the vivid tactile sensations, unusual visual impressions, related not only with the screen, and sounds produced not only by speakers. Thus, the needed devices are a hybrid electronic and mechanical gadgets or electronic devices with extraordinary mechanical elements. And the consumer will be attracted to such devices, both on conscious and on unconscious level. On the one side, these feelings will be missed in life, on the other side specific brands’ features will appear (it is worth remembering, for example, Zippo lighter sound, trademark sound of lid opening).
It should be noted that the engineers and designers have designed these hybrid gadgets in the past.
Flip phone Sony Ericsson Z600 (note: click when the lid is opening/closing until it stops).
By the way each of us can remember a couple of instances of phones with an unusual form factors.
SAMSUNG N400 designed by Pininfarina (antenna moves and emits faint rustle).
SAMSUNG D900 and others (back cover is coated with material, pleasant to the touch and called soft-touch coating).
There are examples of simple devices such as these calculators produced by unknown manufacturers.
Indeed, those parts, that these devices differ from the general mass, always evoke emotions, usually positive.
In our view, the following details will be used in devices of the future.
1. Touch screens.
Touch screens will change the shape, not only in the plane. Nonrectangular screens will be manufactured with kinks and asperities.
Initially we can use transparent covers or films from silicon-containing materials due to the difficult changes in technology of the screen production. Let us assume cover has thickening, bumpers, slots, translucent color templates and others (called "mask" for the screen). By the way, such masks can be used for specific applications: games, calculations, simulations, etc. Imagine you buy a mask for the screen when loading some game or at applying for a job employees receive on-screen masks for using of corporate software systems.
Hereinafter screens will appear with complex surfaces. For example, the touch screen with a wavy surface, with grooves or with protruding buttons.
In the next stage, we expect the screens with changeable geometry surface. It seems at the moment, the easiest way to implement this idea is using the changing working fluid pressure from inside the device to a flexible coating of the screen.
2. Hull coatings, forming unusual tactile sensations.
First of all, manufacturers will begin to produce coatings, which strongly different in touch. The new coatings will be added to the known coatings such as soft touch. They will simulate a touch of velvet, corduroy, fur, dolphin skin, python leather, frosted metal, fine sandpaper, etc.
3. Additional elements of hull.
· Protection elements - the various legs, bumpers, stands, corners, moreover both stationary and mobile.
· Elements of comfort – different side panels, reliefs and elements of anatomical shapes. For example, side panel with the forms for the fingers. You can set the flexible side panel to another position, turning it about the vertical axis, to capture the other hand. Thus if we provide the same set of buttons on both sides of the phone, we can solve the problem of using the device by right-hander and left-hander correctly.
4. Dynamic elements of hull (moving parts, including not very helpful).
· Camera lens cap, which can turn on the camera also.
· Pullout, moving the antennas. You remember the scandal with iPhone 4 antenna, which is implemented in a side frame of phone. We think that the frame can be partially extended. If engineers can improve the reception and render the radiation away from the brain that goal is reached.
· Elements that serve as stand/support for placing on a flat horizontal surface. In this example, we use the same frame antenna.
· Accessories for cleaning of glossy surfaces, especially for touch screens. Here we try to compete in the sense of humor with the creators of SAMSUNG N400 by Pininfarina. For example, a strip of special fabric with mechanical and/or manually actuator. This strip can be combined with button unit. In this example, we propose a system of two loopback ropes inside the device. Manual actuator is carried out using the stylus.
In conclusion, we note the main idea of this post once again: future gadgets will provide pleasant tactile sensations and will have the emotional mechanical features on board.
To be continued.