If an Oxford University spin-out called Bodle Technologies has its way, smartphones, the way we know them today, is set for a sea change. The company, founded by a 32-year old electronics engineer called Dr. Peirman Hosseini, is claiming to have invented a new phase change material (materials that can change state from amorphous to crystalline) that can be used as a display panel in smartphones and other electronics. The important point to note here, is that the material will reportedly use little to no power to illuminate itself, thereby mitigating the single biggest reason for power drain in modern day smartphones – the display panel. Reports seem to suggest that in spite of requiring virtually zero power for illumination, the display will still be vivid and legible even in bright daylight, which, if true, will definitely make it a viable alternative to be used in consumer tech products once it is ready for primetime.
Bodle Technologies, the company behind the new technology, is apparently in advanced stages of negotiations with some of the world’s largest consumer electronics companies to manufacture such panels on a commercial basis, although those companies cannot be identified for legal reasons. The innovation is apparently based on research carried out into the electrical and optical properties of phase change materials at the Oxford University under Dr. Hosseini and Dr. Harish Bhaskaran. Speaking about the potential of the new technology, Dr. Hosseini said, “We can create an entirely new market. You have to charge smartwatches every night, which is slowing adoption. But if you had a smartwatch or smart glass that didn’t need much power, you could recharge it just once a week”.
The technology is apparently already on its way to being utilized in consumer-grade products. It can be used to make smart windows that will be able to block out infra-red rays to reduce temperature inside buildings by effectively controlling the wavelength of light entering through the material, thereby saving as much as 20 percent on air-conditioning costs. Dr. Hosseini also expressed optimism that prototypes for such smart doors and windows will get into production as early as next year. The technology will potentially have various other uses as well, including the creation of holograms that will be well-nigh impossible to fake, thereby acting as a deterrent to the massive global counterfeiting industry, which is estimated to be worth close to $2 trillion.