Phone design innovations

Phone design innovations

Here are some of the ideas currently being mooted for future phone design. Whether or not they ever become reality, they are still well worth taking a look at. If they ever do become available on the shelf, remember where you first read about them!


Mobile phones are getting more compact all the time. This means they are getting thinner, smaller and lighter. Designers are actually working on an ultra-thin phone with a centre-panel that pops out, so that it juts out from the main body. This is designed to fit snugly over your ear, enabling your phone to instantly becoming an earphone – without those annoying cables that are forever getting themselves twisted around each other in knots!

These phone are also being designed to march skin tones that will render them practically invisible when they are in use.

Foldable phones

With advanced design technology there is not need for any phone to be a rigid piece of kit. Instead, far more flexibility is offered by 'packet' phones. Their default state is as a 5cm square shape. But these will be able to fold outwards, as required, enabling the tiny phone to be utilised for a variety of different functions. This solves so many issues with phone size. As more and more of us get used to ever-smaller designs, this will allow us access to multiple functions within a tiny area of storage. The fact that the phone can be conveniently folded away between tasks will allow you to 'switch off' from the demands of carrying the phone around in your pockets. The foldable phone in the photo is from samsung called the "Galaxy Fold".


Phones have traditionally been rectangular-shaped, for the most part, for a number of years. This is still the case with modern mobile phones. However, the phones of the future are being created in a host of different shapes and sizes, with aesthetic considerations equal to technological concepts. In this way, phones will become so much more than objects for conversations, or for interacting with software. They will become three-dimensional ornaments or jewels, which can take pride of place on your shelving when they are not actually in use.

Robot technology – advances on the inside

Robot technology – advances on the inside

While robots continue to be developed in terms of their appearance, growing ever more compact, the real advances are being made ‘under the bonnet'. The major technological breakthroughs in recent years have been down to innovations in telecommunication, electronic devices, computing and, of course, software. There was a surge of robots introduced at CES (photo).

The ability of designers to come up with ever more inventive solutions to reduce processor size had made mobile computing possible. This has also increased what we might consider the ‘brain capability' of robots. Other advances that are having a considerable impact on robotics include the transformation of robots to ‘wireless devices'. In other words, wireless communication protocol can make robots susceptible to receiving information from the internet.

While this has had a revolutionary impact on the web in general, it has really advanced the possibilities for what future robots will be able to do. Internet technologies will create intelligent devices. A whole new generation of embedded systems will be made available for use in complex applications. Robots will start using internet-plugged devices, greatly increasing their scope for activities.

A century from now, the area of science where there is the greatest potential for ‘intelligent', web-programmable robots to be used to their full advantage will be in hazardous environments. We can see very rudimentary version of these machine at the moment, trundling across the desert landscapes on Mars to send geological analyses back to base. Tele-operated robots will be increasingly deployed in outer space – and when the time comes to explore other planets and their satellites in our solar system, they will be indispensible.

As systems have evolved, the decision-making and reasoning that is possible has increased considerably. Artificial intelligence is no longer the stuff of science fiction plots, but is being built into state-of-the-art technologies. The word robot itself is often being superseded by terms such as ‘intelligent decision making units', or at the very least ‘intelligent robots'. This reflects the fundamental evolution of robots, from pure machines – albeit pre-programmable and with a degree of built-in tailoring – to advanced computer-driven units capable of reacting to situations and altering their behavior accordingly. These advances are particularly noticeable in areas such as voice recognition, or image processing. All this enables robots (to keep with the more simplistic terms for convenience) much more ‘human-like' in their communication interface with humans.

Robots will continue to explore the world outside the laboratory. Rather than being purely research tools, they will be used as museum guides, or information desk staff.

Technology and football

Technology and football

Football has been the most universally appreciated spectator sport on the planet for some time, with World Cup finals commanding audiences of billions. So naturally, when it comes to attempting to put together a winning team, coaches and managers will go to various lengths. Utilising technology is one aspect that is becoming increasingly popular.

For the back room staff to begin improving their players' performances, what they first need to do is understand what they actually do during the course of any 90-minute game. Previously, a lot of the choices concerning strategies and tactics were made in real time. We've all seen images of coaches furiously scribbling into notebooks in their dugouts, analyzing aspects of fraught matches as they unfold. Much of what would then be suggested to players, either at half-time, or at subsequent training sessions, would be down to ‘gut instinct'. However, advancements in technology have allowed science to be applied to the process in ways that even World Cup-winning managers could only have dreamt of.

Many of the stadia of premier league sides throughout the world are fitted with sophisticated cameras. These unnoticed mechanical eyes dutifully record exactly what is going on, tracking every kick of the ball, every cross, every goalkeeping save, every dead-ball situation. Once these images are subsequently pored over, they can provide a wealth of information about how much jogging, sprinting - or just hanging around watching play unfold elsewhere – is carried out by the 22 players on the field.

Some consistent pictures emerge from these camera studies. On average, players cover between 10 and 12 kilometers in a 90-minute encounter. Sprinting make up considerably less time than ‘low intensity' activity, such as jogging, or walking. Nevertheless, the former are disproportionately more important attributes to perfect, because the mark the key points during any game. Frenetic penalty box activity is defined by strikers rushing in to meet crosses, or defenders having to back-track furiously after their own side's attack has broken down and they are facing a counter attack.

Film retrieved from this real-time coverage can also paint a picture of player skill sets, allowing coaching staff to decide whether certain players are being played out of their ideal positions. Or perhaps, where techniques need brushed-up.

Technology is also applied to training sessions. Global positioning systems and heart monitoring apparatus are being increasingly used to maintain healthy team members. The heart rate can reveal how bodies are responding to the bursts of action that occur during games. All this activity helps the coaching staff to gauge if training sessions are perhaps being too demanding for players facing strenuous games in a matter of days. But for everyone involved in running a successful premiership side, from the managerial team, to coaches, to physiotherapists, to behavioural neuroscientists, being able to analyze activity down to the level of players' heartbeats is an example of how technology is working to improve sport.

Television for the future

Television for the future

The television at the corner of your living room, or attached to the wall of your bedroom, is a common feature in virtually everyone's home. Viewers in the Far East are just as enthusiastic about their ubiquitous TV sets as consumers anywhere else in the globe. But what sort of televisions will viewers be watching in the not-too-distant future?

What most commentators will agree on is the fact that while there is any number of trends going a long way towards predicting future technology, two main areas will undoubtedly have a major influence.

Social TV

The days where television companies were commissioned to produce programmes, which were then broadcast to their viewers according to strict timetables, have long gone. Video and then DVD recording technology saw the start in the shift towards increasing power being placed in the viewers' hands. This has exploded in recent years.

The fact that technology has evolved to the extent that people are just as likely to be watching their favourite shows on their laptop screens or phones has been another seismic shift. 'TV on demand' means that viewers can choose when they watch particular programmes. A further component that has had a major impact on the potential for different ways to watch television has been that true phenomenon of the early 21st century – social media. TV programme planners will want to keep one eye on the way that people are interacting with one another. There will be increasing opportunities for viewer-created content, as people choose to harness the technology that is making, for instance, video-making so straightforward and cheap. Friends will begin creating shows for their own little niche of Facebook friends or Twitter followers.

Parallel content

The remote control has had a revolutionary effect on how television is watched. Red buttons introduce a whole new layer of interactivity, enabling viewers to meander off in new directions half way through their favourite shows. This will be particularly effective with news bulletins. As well as possessing the ability to freeze the action, you'll be able to go off in study related images on extra screens – in much the same way as surfing the internet through a browser allows you to open multiple windows.

In tandem with this development for television viewing, there are many other ways for people to receive news content. The advent of social media has meant that people can pick up news instantly, as it happens. Tweeted stories and pictures can capture stories instantly, without the viewer having to wait for any laborious editorial process to be enacted.

As news consumers are presented with increasingly sophisticated touch-screen interfaces on tablets, television companies will devote more and more time to web-disseminated content – content that also allows for interactivity as viewers react to the news, by commenting on forums, or social media.