What you need to know
- OnePlus' new concept phone includes Electronic Color, Material and Finish (ECMF) to dynamically change color.
- The feature works in conjunction with the mmWave module at the back of the device to monitor your breathing.
- The design at the back will then change in tune with your breathing pattern.
- OnePlus isn't going to make this available commercially.
Ever so often, I get a press release that I just doesn't make sense no matter how many times I go through it. This is one of those times. OnePlus just came out with a new concept phone, and it is interesting to say the least. The company took a regular OnePlus 8T and added Electronic Color, Material and Finish (ECMF) to the back — this is essentially a color-changing film that sits underneath the regular glass layer.
The phone also has a mmWave module, but instead of 5G connectivity, in this instance it is being used as a radar to detect millimeter-level changes in movement. Why is that relevant, you ask? That's because the phone has the ability to monitor your breathing, and can change the colors at the back in tune with your breathing pattern. Here's what the color-changing effect looks like:
OnePlus says it is "pushing the boundaries of human interaction with mobile technology" with the device, with the design itself inspired by the hot springs of Turkey:
OnePlus envisages the OnePlus 8T ECMF facilitating a new mode of gesture-focused interaction. For instance, the colors at the back would flash when you're receiving a call, and you can then choose to accept or reject the call with a gesture. Of course, for this to work, you would have to put the phone lying face down on your table.
OnePlus clarified that the mmWave sensor is not for 5G connectivity, and is used solely for detecting infinitesimal changes in movement. This is what allows the phone to gauge your breathing pattern, and adjust the colors at the back accordingly.
According to OnePlus, it records the "millimeter-level movement of the chest during breathing, so as to calculate the frequency of breathing through artificial intelligence algorithms."
The OnePlus 8T ECMF follows in the footsteps of the OnePlus Concept One, which offered an electrochromic glass that turned opaque to hide the camera modules at the back of the phone. The OnePlus 8T ECMF will not be available to buy, but you can look forward to similar design-focused efforts from the manufacturer.
OnePlus has assembled a design team dubbed OnePlus Gaudí — after famed Spanish designer Antonio Gaudí — that includes designers spread across Shenzhen, Taipei, New York, and India. OnePlus says the goal of this team is to "empower creative minds with meaningful and playful technology, while solving unsolved problems in a better way." So get ready to see more zany designs in the coming months.
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With a new design backed by a gorgeous 120Hz AMOLED display and blazing-fast 65W fast charging, the OnePlus 8T is packed with exciting upgrades. The phone also runs Android 11 out of the box, and has a ton of exciting new software features. Combine the robust hardware with a robust software package and you get one of the best overall packages in this category.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.