Nokia Morph Cellphone Rolls Up, Stretches, Cleans Itself

Nokia's new Morph concept phone would use nanotechnology to give it a flexible body with a transparent display that could be re-shaped depending on the user's needs, a far cry from today's solid and chunky devices. Even the electronics inside it would be transparent and flexible, so the whole phone may be twisted and stretched into bracelet shapes or tablet form, and nanotech cleverness means it would even clean itself. Developed in cooperation with Cambridge University, this glimpse of a distant future is now on display at the MoMA in New York. Jump for video and yadda-yadda press release.

Nokia and University of Cambridge launch the Morph - a nanotechnology concept device

New York, US and Espoo, Finland — Morph, a joint nanotechnology concept, developed by Nokia Research Center (NRC) and the University of Cambridge (UK) - was launched today alongside the "Design and the Elastic Mind" exhibition, on view from February 24 to May 12, 2008, at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Morph features in both the exhibition catalog and on MoMA's official website.

Morph is a concept that demonstrates how future mobile devices might be stretchable and flexible, allowing the user to transform their mobile device into radically different shapes. It demonstrates the ultimate functionality that nanotechnology might be capable of delivering: flexible materials, transparent electronics and self-cleaning surfaces.

Dr. Tapani Ryhanen, Head of the NRC Cambridge UK laboratory, Nokia, commented: "We hope that this combination of art and science will showcase the potential of nanoscience to a wider audience. The techniques we are developing might one day mean new possibilities in terms of the design and function of mobile devices. The research we are carrying out is fundamental to this as we seek a safe and controlled way to develop and use new materials."

Professor Mark Welland, Head of the Department of Engineering's Nanoscience Group at the University of Cambridge and University Director of Nokia-Cambridge collaboration added "Developing the Morph concept with Nokia has provided us with a focus that is both artistically inspirational but, more importantly, sets the technology agenda for our joint nanoscience research that will stimulate our future work together."

The partnership between Nokia and the University of Cambridge was announced in March, 2007 - an agreement to work together on an extensive and long term programme of joint research projects. NRC has established a research facility at the University's West Cambridge site and collaborates with several departments - initially the Nanoscience Center and Electrical Division of the Engineering Department - on projects that, to begin with, are centered on nanotechnology.

Elements of Morph might be available to integrate into handheld devices within 7 years, though initially only at the high-end. However, nanotechnology may one day lead to low cost manufacturing solutions, and offers the possibility of integrating complex functionality at a low price.