'Morphees'- the shape-changing devices change shape according to the function they’re supposed to carry out.
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British scientists are working on a project that could help mobile phones change their shapes according to what they are doing at the moment. ‘Morphees’, as the shape-changing devices are called, could change their shape to make a particular game easier to control or could give access to a physical keyboard when it’s required.
According to The Engineer, the scientists working at Bristol University have developed six prototypes made using dielectric electroactive polymers (DEAPs), shape memory alloys (SMAs) and materials like wood. DEAPs are plastic materials that change shape when pressure is applied by an electric field generated by electrodes while SMAs are moldable materials that go back to their original shape when heat is applied.
The researchers said that they were currently experimenting with six different Morphees in order to see which materials were the safest to use and needed the least amount of electric current to work.
While speaking to The Engineer, the lead researcher Dr. Anne Roudaut said, “In everyday life we interact with lots of different shapes that tells us how it is to be used, for example a door handle, a bottle mouth. And mobiles are just rectangular, they don’t fit to their functionality. There are a lot of different interesting materials that are growing in research labs that we are not especially aware of. We investigated how materials that change shape, expand or shrink when you apply a voltage.”
Sources: The Engineer, GigaOM