Future mobile communication devices
May 20, 2013
by Mark Ollig

What will a mobile communication device be like in 10 to 15 years?

One common answer is: “It will be a chip implanted in our head.”

Yours truly believes using silicon (or germanium-based) communication chips imbedded in our heads as a practical means for communicating with one another, will be the stuff of science fiction for quite a while.

I feel the problem with current, portable smartphone devices are the screens. They are too small, which makes it difficult to see text, video, and pictures.

Personally, I fault my middle-aged eyes.

If we go with a larger display screen, our mobile phone no longer remains a device one can easily carry, or wear in a shirt pocket.

The size of an iPad and similar display devices would be too large to carry around as our main mobile communication device.

The mobile telephones of the future will need adjustable display screens capable of being increased and reduced in size. They might be folded like a wallet, or rolled up to the size of a pen.

For years, yours truly has been a proponent for having mobile devices include a built-in mini-projector. This projector could send the contents of the display screen onto a wall, or table.

When I enthusiastically told my oldest son of my idea, he shook his head.

Well, I still feel it’s a good idea.

Researchers at the Darmstadt University of Technology, located in Darmstadt, Germany have released a study suggesting what they feel mobile telephones will be like in 10 to 15 years.

The university’s website proposes the display screens of future mobile phones will “merge virtual and physical reality.”

The mobile phone’s camera will not only take a picture, or record a video; it will also be able to cross-reference what it sees with other information.

One example is of an architect’s mobile phone camera being focused on a particular historical building. Information could be obtained on how it looked in the 1920s. A referenced picture from the 1920s would be overlayed in 3-D fashion upon the existing building in the display screen for comparison.

One future-concept mobile phone device developed features a passive, “rollable” display screen.

This display screen can be rolled out or back in on itself, in order to increase or decrease its physical size.

Since the display screen size is physically changeable, a picture or video being viewed can become larger or smaller.

Also, a person’s interface with the device’s digital content will become more interactive.

For example, certain physical motions when operating the rolling display screen can be interpreted as zooming in or out, on the specific area being viewed.

Reading lots of text without reducing its font size is accomplished by simply pulling the ends of the device further apart to expand the screen size. The text is read similar to how one reads text on a paper or parchment scroll.

“Users will have their hands full simultaneously manipulating the display and the telephone’s controls,” said Professor Max Muhlhauser, head of the Telecooperation Lab at the university.

These future mobile devices will also require better power utilization than we currently use. New powerful, microscopic batteries now being developed could someday be used.

Mobile phone apps (applications), such as Scan & Go, or Square Wallet, allow our mobile phones to quickly pay for products we buy in a store, or at the drive-thru when purchasing our favorite coffee.

Today, most road tolls are collected using cash; in the near future; they will be collected wirelessly and electronically.

California’s FasTrak pre-paid electronic toll road collection system provides iPhone or Android mobile device users a free app. This app allows the user’s mobile device to be quickly scanned for collecting toll road charges. Using this app, no stopping of a user’s vehicle at the toll road booth is needed.

The Darmstadt University of Technology researchers say future mobile telephone networks will be required to handle higher transmission speeds than currently being used.

Recently, Samsung, based in South Korea, announced they have developed a means of transmitting huge amounts of cellular data over frequencies much higher and faster than those being used today.

The best wireless mobile phone technology currently available for a smart device is 4G.

By 2020, Samsung says it will be marketing 5G.

Samsung stated 5G will allow enormous amounts of data to be sent over our mobiles devices “practically without limitation.”

In a world with 5G networks, a super-high-definition video could be downloaded in just seconds.

This could be the wireless network environment fast enough to interact with the future devices Darmstadt University of Technology is talking about.

We all know about the Internet cloud, and how we are becoming more connected with it.

Future mobile communication devices will be connected to portions of the cloud at all times. Professor Muhlhauser calls these mobile portions of the cloud, “cloudlets.”

The one concern Professor Muhlhauser expressed, was that of “the security infrastructure currently housed in insecure mobile telephones.”

Whatever the future communications gadget, we will certainly want our personal and financial information being protected inside a mobile device we can trust.

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