Last year OnePlus brought a concept phone to CES that used electrochromatic glass to hide the rear camera. This year, possibly because CES will be online only, they have revealed their concept phone early. This year it changes colour and detects movement.
As you can see above the design on the rear of the phone it is more than just the usual slab of fragile glass. The glass in the Concept phone has a metal oxide film underneath that changes colour when the voltage is applied to it is varied — similar concept to last year’s hidden camera trick.
OnePlus say that the inspiration for the design is from the hot springs of Pamukkale in Turkey and can be used to signal incoming phone calls or notifications.
But wait, there’s more…..
The OnePlus 8T is an amazing overall smartphone, but we’re always exploring cool new technologies—not necessarily to bring to market, but just to see what else is possible. Check out our latest experiment: the Concept 8T. pic.twitter.com/jmJMVcyBMT
— Pete Lau (@PeteLau) December 21, 2020
Inside the camera housing is a radar module that is based on mmWave technologies — but it does not have any communication functionality. This module transmits and receives electromagnetic waves. When it receives these electromagnetic waves “the DSP (digital signal processing) works with the CPU to perform signal and information processing, allowing the device to perceive, locate, and track objects”. Using this it can track gestures such as rejecting a call with the swipe of a hand.
OnePlus are far from the first manufacturer to include some form of radar touchless control into a smartphone but they are the first to do it this way.
The radar can also be used as a “biofeedback device” by sensing your breathing and sending information back to the rear film/glass and results in colour changes. At this stage there are only two colours available but it is possible that more colours will be available if and ever this concept makes it to market.
The OnePlus 8T Concept will not be available to purchase by the public but it is good to see OnePlus once again continuing to try and push the possibilities of mobile devices, however limited they may be in this case.