Nokia patents controller fabric

July 9, 2009 | 13:59

Tags: #patent #powerglove #smartphone

Companies: #nokia

If you find controlling your smartphone via a touchscreen a drag – and wouldn't be seen dead using old-fashioned buttons – then you might want to keep an eye on Nokia's output for the next few iterations.

According to an article over on Unwired View, the Finnish mobile giant has filed a patent for a wearable interface for its next-generation smartphones.

Taking the form of a sleeve filled with embedded sensors, the rather novel input system is able to detect the stretching and relaxation of your skin - and from there figure out exactly what you're attempting to do with your 'phone. Commands are then transmitted wirelessly to your handset for execution.

The patent also covers modifying the sleeve into a glove – including an interesting single-fingered version that probably won't be gracing the catwalks of Milan any time soon – for a more natural control system. What the patent doesn't cover, however, is just how usable the technology might be.

A patent application does not, of course, represent a definite direction that Nokia's research and development team is taking: doubly so for the near-eye display glasses included in the application, which are have never proven popular in any previous iteration. However, despite doubts about just how usable the system might be when compared to the tried and tested touchscreen technology, it's good to see Nokia attempting to innovate.

Can you imagine using a digital sleeve – or glove – as a user interface design, or are you just having flashbacks to the last time this was attempted by a major consumer electronics company? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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