Skip to main content

GLOBAL – This month the Nokia Research Center (NRC) released its first newsletter, entitled Open Threads.

Tucked away on the NRC site, you might’ve missed it (it nearly ducked our radar), but thankfully it didn’t dodge our keen eye for must-read Nokia tales, as it gives a great insight into some of the smart stories of Open Innovation at NRC and the developments and people involved in fascinating projects going on behind the scenes in Nokia’s research division. Topics such as professors striving to bend batteries, the evolution of a slick new Chinese messaging tool dubbed Stroke++, a concept called face sketching and loads more.

Read on for more on these highlights and click through download the entire Open Threads newsletter from NRC – it’s definitely worth a read.

Bending batteries, energy harvesting and beyond
Professor Gehan Amaratunga is head of the Electrical Power and Energy Conversion Research Group within the Electrical Engineering Division of the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. He’s also an entrepreneur who has been working with Nokia researchers since 2007. Working as part of the Open Innovation initiative at NRC, in the Open Threads newsletter he talks about some of the interesting stuff he’s been working on and their ambitions.

“With Nokia what we are particularly looking at is the application of nanotechnologies for energy harvesting and energy storage. So, that means enhanced battery-life through supplementing the battery by harvesting energy from the environment around the mobile device, including the magnetic spectrum, as well as the light, then being able to store that efficiently in devices which have as good a performance or better than existing batteries. One of the key things we are concentrating on is trying to break away from the form factor limitations that are caused by existing battery technologies, such as cube and rectangular shapes. If you could shape the battery into any form you wanted, then you would have more flexibility in the form factor that a telephone takes.”

This is the sort of thinking and research that fuels ideas such as the Nokia Morph Concept

Stroke++ and simplifying messaging tools for complex languages
Dr. Jianwei Niu is the Associate Professor of Distributed and Mobile Computing in the School of Computer Science and Engineering at Beihang University in China. He and NRC, Beijing have teamed up on a number of projects over the last six years, including Stroke++. This is is an innovative one-handed Chinese character input method for touchscreen devices – side-stepping traditional single-stroke input methods, Stroke++ features the use of character “radicals” to dramatically decrease input time for complex written languages such Chinese, and can extend to other character systems as well, such as Hindi and other eastern languages. Work on this new tool started in September 2008, with Stroke++ currently running on Symbian S60. Soon it will be coming to Nokia’s Linux-based Maemo platform too.

Face sketching and real-time facial avatars
Alongside his work on apps such as Stroke++, Dr. Jianwei Niu is also exploring the concept of ‘face sketching’. It’s being developed for the purpose of enhancing online video conferencing with real-time facial avatars. Sounds interesting, and we’re keen to see an example of it in action – we’ll try and track something down. He also tells us where he think their future challenges lie:

“I think that the key challenges include facial expression recognition and 3-dimension face reconstruction in our technology area.”

Get the NRC Open Thread newsletter

Click on the link below to download the full newsletter and the ultimate lowdown on the latest stories about the developments and people working at NRC.

Nokia Research Center Open Threads newsletter – download PDF