Flexible phones aren’t exactly a new concept as they have been seen in demonstration and prototype form several times. The last flexible smartphone that we talked about was from Lenovo and the flexible phones it showed off were cool. Over at Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab some of the researchers have developed a device called the WhammyPhone. It’s being called the world’s first musical instrument for a flexible smartphone.
The WhammyPhone allows users to bend the display and create sound effects as they bend it using a virtual instrument like a violin or a guitar. “WhammyPhone is a completely new way of interacting with sound using a smartphone.It allows for the kind of expressive input normally only seen in traditional musical instruments,” says Dr. Vertegaal, a researcher on the project.
The screen of the WhammyPhone is a 1920 x 1080 Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode or FOLED touchscreen. The screen shows keys that can be used to play sounds using sound synthesizer software that runs on a computer. The phone has a bend sensor inside that lets the user bend the phone as a way to manipulate the sound.
In demonstrations Dr. Vertegaal also showed the bending of the phone being used to control loops in Electronic Dance music as a way for DJs to interact with their instruments. “The real importance of WhammyPhone is that it provides the same kind of kinesthetic feedback that, say, a string provides when it is bent to alter the pitch,” says Dr. Vertegaal. “This kind of effect is critical for musicians to control their expression, and provides another level of utility for bend input in smartphones.” There is no word on when or if the tech seen in the WhammyPhone might come to market in a product that you can buy.