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Motorola Envisions the Cellphone of the Future

Hyper futuristic cellphone concepts are usually the province of student competitions. But Motorola tasked designers from its offices around the world to create a visionary cellphone replacement, and here are the results.

As Core 77 reports, the effort was part of an organization wide effort to push a "design mythology": That is, a set of "universal aspirations" that might lend Motorola a coherent vision for product development, which it has sorely lacked (witness how the company has lurched from near-perfect designs like the PEBL to various half-hearted, easily forgotten products). So it tasked 31 designers around the globe to spend a portion of their time working on "Motorola 2033." They were asked to explore seven plausible technology developments, each of which are perhaps 25 years away from being commonplace:

— Communication could be ambient, always on and people could live online

— Computers and mobile devices could be embedded in the ordinary

— "Using Software" could vanish; only interface and human interaction would remain

— Device interaction could become natural, predictive, and fluid so people could be free to relax

— Molecular manufacturing could revolutionize production

— Technology could outpace the brain's ability to absorb, intelligent 'agents' filter

— Objects could access "The Cloud" at will

This resulted in three designs.

1. The U.K. office proposed a prosthesis that mounts in the ridge of the nose, and which overlays the wearer's vision with virtual information about the people and places they're looking at. Thus, it makes the increasingly popular concept of "augmented reality" ubiquitous and always on:

future mosaic

2. The North American office produced Origami: A cellphone that's more of a transformer, with functions that vary based on shape. The user interaction becomes pure fun, as you fold and crease the device to access the various features:

Origami mosaic

3. Communidad from South America seems well within reach: The wafer-thin device would project information and touchscreens on any surface (note that a "virtual keyboard," which is just light projected onto a surface is already here, while pico projectors are currently seeing rapid advances):


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[Via Core 77, which has more of the concepts]