Locative Lab

researching locative media

The All-In-One Haptic Phone

The All-In-One Haptic Phone

All-In-One Haptic PhoneHot on the heels of some of the Haptic Messaging ideas I touched on a few weeks ago come a concept design for an All-In-One Haptic Phone at Yanko Design.

The Haptic Phone marries the tactility and physicality of a real keyboard with the infinite flexibility of a touchscreen interface. Both front and back surfaces of the handset are touchscreens where the surface area can raise itself to mimic any combination of buttons and keyboard layouts.

Implementing such a surface requires some quantum leaps in materials technology, yet perhaps an  intermediary step worth exploring is to take a touchscreen surface and overlay a grid of fixed, raised, tactile ’soft keys’ that change function depending on the content of the touchscreen beneath them.

More broadly, such concepts point to a palpable lack of innovation in mobile design – with the exception of the iPhone. We’re demanding more from our handsets (GPS, imaging, web browsing…) and yet UI thinking still seems to be constrained to keypads and menus.

The computing power of today’s high-end handsets exceeds the Windows desktops of the mid-90s, yet we’re content to see Nokia expend R&D effort on a 3D version of Snakes rather than UIs that make handsets easier to use and easier to navigate.


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Cityscape LocativeLab.org is Ronald Lenz's research website on locative & mobile media. This is mostly an archive of blogposts I find inspiring and interesting and an overview of my work. I'm a strategist, technologist and researcher in the field of Location-Based Mobile Services and work at Waag Society, a medialab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where I head the Locative Media research program and at 7scenes, a platform for GPS games and tours as creative director. Picture 4 Find me at Twitter, LinkedIn or via ronald [at] waag [dot] org.

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