OnePlus embraces exoticism. Almost a year after surprising us with the Concept One smartphone that featured an “invisible rear camera”, the company returns to the fray with the OnePlus 8T Concept, a flagship smartphone that is capable of changing the color of its back cover and registering the breath of a user. Predictably, we will not see this device being sold to users, but it rather showcases a sample of small innovations that the brand is working on.
The OnePlus 8T Concept is a new conceptual smartphone based on color-changing technology and a mmWave radar. The company introduced the regular OnePlus 8T back in October 2020. It flaunts a 120Hz Fluid AMOLED screen and the most powerful fast charging solution the company has introduced to date, Warp Charge 65. Now, with the OnePlus 8T Concept, the company says it uses “a combination of natural design inspiration and advanced technologies to create a more natural interaction between users and the device.”
One of the main highlights of this new conceptual smartphone is its color, which as per the company’s claim, is inspired by the hot springs of Pamukkale, Turkey. OnePlus has used the form of a color-changing film that contains metal oxide on glass for electronic finishes. The valence state of metal ions varies under different voltages. Thus, the color of the glass changes from a dark blue finish to a light silver. At the base of everything is the ECMF (Electronic Color, Material, and Finish), which allows it to work dynamically at the user and software experience level.
The ECMF becomes truly interactive when it works in conjunction with mmWave, and thus changes the way we interact with technology. The principle of operation of this technology, borrowed from 5G, is that the mmWave radar module transmits and receives electromagnetic waves. When receiving electromagnetic waves, digital signal processing (DSP) and the CPU perform signal and information processing, allowing the device to perceive, visualize, locate, and track objects.
For example, through contactless notifications, electronic finishes can make colors shine for an incoming call. Or with each breath. In this sense, mmWave technology can record a user’s breath, allowing the color to change in sync and turning the phone into a ‘biofeedback’ device.
Subsequently, OnePlus is also introducing OnePlus Gaudí, a multicultural and diverse team of 39 designers based in Shenzhen (China), Taipei (Taiwan), New York (United States), and India. They believe that art challenges technology and technology inspires art. With the OnePlus 8T Concept, the OnePlus Gaudí team developed an alternative version of the device that combines organic design with industrial design.