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April 12, 2012

Future Tech: Extra sensor-y perception

A look into the Nokia Connects crystal ball, tea leaves, astrology pages (delete as appropriate depending on your divination skill level) to see how those little sensors in all our phones can shape our future.

Old, old pic from Symbian Resources, but could it be upscaled?

I’m talking about sensors and how they will be crucial in years to come. Most of us have an accelerometer in our phones (it’s what makes the screen rotate, knows when you’ve tilted it in game play and the like) and some people even have fancy shoes that track your fitness activity and then tweet it for you (seriously? Your shoes tweet? Awesome).


Some of these funky chargers harvest kinetic energy, similar to the Nokia Bike Charger but this isn’t the future we’re looking for. Or is it?

I like the way you move

Maybe kinetic energy is the way I should be looking in this future-focussed piece. After all, when Mashable tells you it’s the way forward, it’s time to sit up and take notice. Maybe the swing of the arm when jogging (I don’t jog) or the movement of your hands while driving really will create enough energy to charge your phone (or at least give you enough juice for an emergency call). Maybe my halcyon ideal of harvesting energy with my phone in my pocket is a pipe dream. The closest seems to have been a company called M2E that had a ‘deck of cards’ sized charger in development about 3 years ago that did indeed charge while you walk. The project doesn’t seem to have come to fruition.

So what’s next?

I’ve veered off the subject a little here, delving into the realms of charging. So let’s get back on track. Here at Nokia Connects we had a brainstorm (we like doing these) and come up with a few concepts using future, boosted, better-powered motion and proximity sensors that might be worth harnessing in your future Nokia:

      – Remember the Nokia accelerometer-controlled car ShakerRacer seen in the pic above? How about upscaling that to a real car, maybe for use by people with limited movement?

      – In Nokia Maps. When you pass a place of interest (as selected in advance – hidden point of historical interest, sweet shop) an NFC/proximity/motion sensor combo alerts you to the fact that you’re close.

      – To stop children wandering too far from where they should be, what about high-powered paired sensors that operate at a certain distance? Once the connection is broken, an alarm sounds to alert parent to distance (and direction) the child has gone.

      – How about augmented reality gaming in conjunction with some fancy glasses. A lightsabre fight with Darth Vader in your local supermarket anyone? Just me then.

      – How about setting your keys and your phone in sync so that if you’re out and about and you become separated from your keys, you get an alarm? Similarly, an electronic key could let you know you’ve lost your phone (my brother could do with that…)

      Where do you see the future for this technology? Are you bursting with ideas for motion sensors that just have to be heard? Well now is your chance, friends. Leave a comment, or drop us a line @Nokia_Connects and we’ll take a good look at them, maybe even share them with everyone else next week…