Cubimorph specs: Rubik's Cube smartphone unveiled

(Wikimedia Commons/Mike Gonzalez)Rubik's Cube variations are shown in this photo.

A research team has developed the World's first Rubik's Cube smartphone — the Cubimorph.

Just as how Rubik's Cubes work, the smartphone invented by Anne Roudaut of the University of Bristol, in collaboration with researchers from Lancaster, Purdue, and Sussex universities, has the capability to change its physical form and match whatever the user deems it needs to transform into.

"Cubimorph" is a device made up of a series of small, connected cubes, with reports saying that it has an OLED touchscreen on all its surfaces. In order to transform, it has an algorithm that instructs the automated turntables to reconfigure while on the user's hands.

The algorithm in itself also applies the principles of the famous cube, as it will also follow what its artificial intelligence calculates to be the best morphing route to take for a specific form, while avoiding harming or squeezing the user's fingers.

Beyond the desire to provide another unique feature to the ever growing smartphone trends, the team behind the self-transforming smartphone is actually presenting this device as a contribution to Programmable Matter, or the science that focuses on the ability of devices to reconfigure, depending on the functionality that users need. For the Rubik's Cube smartphone, Roudaut and her colleagues propose that one of its uses would be the ability to turn from a mobile device into a game controller in a few seconds.

"'Cubimorph' is the first step towards a real modular interactive device. Much work still needs to be achieved to put such devices in the end-user hands but we hope our work will create discussion between the human computer interaction and robotics communities that could be of benefit to one another other," Roudaut said in a statement.

The Cubimorph is being presented at the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society's biggest conference — the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), which is being held in Stockholm, Sweden from May 16 to 21.

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