Technology is constantly evolving, and new ideas are introduced to the market all the time. Now, Japan-based company NTT Docomo is taking smartphone evolution one step further. Docomo introduced their latest idea, the Grip UI,  at the CEATEC Japan 2012 show earlier this month. The Grip UI is revolutionary pressure-sensor technology that the company hopes will make smartphone usage even easier in the near future. Say you are someone who can only use one hand for your cell phone, like holding on to a subway pole, for example. It can often be difficult to do any advanced searching or activity with one hand, but the Grip UI could change that. The prototype unveiled uses 270 sensors on the side of the phone that can detect specific motions. This would allow the user with essential function simply by squeezing the outer edges of the phone. A few of the tech specs for the prototype are:
  • Unlock: Gripping the sides of the phone with all five fingers will unlike the screen.
  • Back: Using two fingers to pinch the middle of each side at the same time would be equivalent to pushing the back button on the screen.
  • Browser: Squeezing the top of each side would launch the phone's web browser.
  • Search: While the browser is open, squeeze both the sides on the bottom to open a search bar.
  • Camera: Squeezing the four corners would open the phone's camera.
While these would make it easier to control the phone with just one hand, a pressure sensor could introduce new problems. Would the phone know the difference between an intentional squeeze and pressure from say being in a pocket or just gripping the phone to hold it? It's possible that a pulsed grip could help detract from this problem. For example, two quick pulses could be used to unlock the phone, as opposed to a simple squeeze.
So why would something like the Grip UI be necessary on the market today? As larger screen phones gain popularity, like the Galaxy Note and Sharp's new 5-inch display, it becomes more difficult to perform scrolling functions that slimmer phones allow. By enabling sensors on the bezel of the phone, the user still has full function without losing grip. The Grip UI has no set introduction date to the market, but if it does eventually see a release, it could add a twist to future phone designs and looks.
Information courtesy of: tech fortune.cnn.com, extremetech.com

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