OnePlus concept phone demos color-shifting casing and radar-sensing
OnePlus has taken a break from releasing phones you can actually buy to show off its latest prototype creation, the OnePlus 8T Concept. It showcases a number of cutting-edge technologies, including a back casing that changes color in response to various triggers.
One way this could be useful is by alerting you to incoming notifications while your phone is laid down flat. You could even dismiss notifications with a wave of your hand, because the rear camera array is also fitted with an mmWave radar sensing module that looks out for movement in the immediate environment.
The radar is good enough to detect breathing patterns, OnePlus says, and the back of the phone could even change color in time with these to keep you calm and relaxed. One of the concept's demo videos shows off an app that could monitor breathing, although if you were using it to manage your own breathing you wouldn't be able to see the screen.
The color shifting is made possible by a metal oxide film attached to the phone casing. As different voltages are applied to it, managed by the hardware inside the phone and the software running on it, the shade on the back shifts from dark blue to light silver. OnePlus is calling it Reactive Sensing Technology.
"The OnePlus 8T Concept uses a combination of natural design inspiration and advanced technologies to create a more natural interaction between users and the device," explains OnePlus.
That natural design inspiration is in part drawn from "the multi-hued flowing water in the hot springs" of Pamukkale in Turkey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its stunning natural limestone terraces.
You won't be able to buy the OnePlus 8T Concept, but it's an interesting peek at what might be coming soon to the devices that we carry around in our pockets. The radar technology is not unlike the Motion Sense system we saw in the Pixel 4 phones, which was subsequently dropped in the Pixel 5.
"Combining the shifting colors on the electrochromic back of the OnePlus 8T Concept with mmWave sensing technology is just the first step in opening up a wide range of possibilities for how people interact with their smartphones," says OnePlus. "In the near future, we believe there will be many more uses for Reactive Sensing."
The color-shifting and radar-sensing capabilities of the OnePlus 8T Concept are demonstrated in the video below.