Smartphone of the Future – Graphene the New Superstar?


Being a little clumsy and at the same time an absolute smartphone addict, it regularly happens to me that my mobile phone slips out of my hands and lands, mostly, on its screen first on the floor. The time between realizing I dropped my phone and picking it up to check whether the screen is still in one piece usually lets my heartbeat increase drastically.

And this not only happens to me. According to a survey conducted by case manufacturer Tech21 as many as 90% of users drop their phone at least once a month (Blandford, 2013). Although this number should be regarded at with caution since Tech21’s main interest consists in selling as many phone cases as possible, it surely gives us a hint that with the rapid growth of the mobile device market phone dropping and the associated repair costs have become an issue.

However, there is good news for all the phone droppers on this planet! Soon we might not only be able to drop our phones without having to fear any consequences but we might even be able to bend them as much as we like. This can be achieved through a new superlight and superstrong material called graphene, a one atom thick layer of graphite making it both transparent and bendable. In addition to the before-mentioned characteristics, graphene also conducts heat and electricity better than anything else, making it an optimal ingredient for future LED screens (De la Fuente, 2014).

Although the technology integrating graphene into smartphone LED screens is still in its infancy and we might therefore not yet see any transparent and bendable smartphone screens in the very near future, both researchers and the mobile phone industry have launched projects exploring the possible applications for graphene (Hamill, 2014).

For those who might now be interested in graphene and its capabilities, I recommend to have a look at the following TED talk from Mikael Fogelstrom which provides some great explanations.

So what do you think? Is graphene really the new super material researchers like to promote it as? Will our future mobile devices be made of graphene? Do you see any further uses of graphene apart from the one discussed in this article?

Sources:

Blandford, 2013.‘90% of people drop their phone at least once a month’, http://allaboutwindowsphone.com/, last visited: 20 September 2015.

De la Fuente, 2014.‘Graphene uses and applications’, http://www.graphenea.com/, last visited: 20 September 2015.

Hamill, 2014. ‘Smartphones Of The Future Will Use Graphene Touchscreens’, http://www.forbes.com/, last visited: 20 September 2015.

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One response to “Smartphone of the Future – Graphene the New Superstar?”

  1. 354283es says :

    According to me, the future of smartphones is a very interesting topic. Different types of innovations are shown online, but which one will be part of the future? The method your blog mentions, reminds me of another “phone of the future”: Phonebloks. With this Kickstarter initiative, parts of your phone can be easily removed and replaced. For example, if your camera is outdated or your screens has broken, you can easily replace these parts by separate blocks. A base keeps all blocks together and forms your unique smartphone.

    For further explanation, I recommend you to watch this video of Phonebloks:

    The initiators of Phonebloks have the intention to create worldwide attention and motivate existing phone brands to manufacture the Phonebloks. The main goal of the idea is to reduce unnecessary technical trash coming from phones, since the Phonebloks are very sustainable (only replaced materials have to be thrown away). (Phonebloks, 2013)

    Personally, I believe that Phonebloks have high potential to become the ‘future phone’. However, there is a major difficulty: to create this phone, existing phone companies have to cooperate. Besides, they will have to stop selling traditional smartphones and switch to selling blocks. Analysis has to show if this is economically attractive for the companies or not. Once the large companies are convinced, major changes can be made. (Phonebloks, 2013)

    Both the Graphene and Phonebloks idea strive to a more sustainable phone, in a very different way. I am looking forward to see which initiatives will have impact in the future and will make a change. The fact that people are initiating solutions for problems regarding sustainability and technical devices is a very positive development. How do you think about this? I am very interested in other developments in this field.

    Reference:
    Phonebloks, 2013. Available from: https://phonebloks.com/en. [22 September 15].

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