OnePlus 8T Concept brings color shifting phones closer to reality

Do you remember the OnePlus Concept One from CES 2020 earlier this year? Yes, that Papaya Orange Mclaren-themed phone that OnePlus showcased with cameras that hide at the touch of a button. OnePlus is now using a similar technology on a slightly larger scale to demonstrate the possibility of a color-changing smartphone. Based on the vanilla OnePlus 8T, the device is called the OnePlus 8T Concept.

Instead of hiding the rear cameras this time, OnePlus has evolved the technology to make way for color-changing rear panel. It is using the ECMF (Electronic Color, Material and Finish) procedure to attain a color-changing layer of glass that’s concealed in a rather beautiful pattern. Moreover, there’s a new mmWave sensor that can be used to read gestures without actually touching the phone. Sadly, this is just a concept device for now but we cannot rule out the possibility of something like this making it to the masses in the future.

OnePlus 8T Concept: What is it?

In essence, the OnePlus 8T Concept is just a OnePlus 8T with a fancy high-tech rear panel. OnePlus is using the ECMF glass to change the color of the rear panel electronically. By colour-changing, we mean that you can just attain two hues as the glass simply varies the levels of tinting. In the words of OnePlus, “ECMF has taken the form of a color-changing film that contains metal oxide in glass, the valence state of the metal ions varying under different voltages. That means that when the metal oxide activates, the color of the glass changes from a dark blue to a light silver.”

As for the unique pattern, OnePlus designers have taken inspiration from the “multi-hued flowing water in the hot springs of Pamukkale, Turkey.” The design is definitely unique and it looks nothing like any of the concept designs OnePlus has created so far.

Is color changing the only unique aspect of the 8T Concept?

To make the phone more interactive, OnePlus has embedded a mmWave sensor inside the large camera module. This sensor can track objects in space in close proximity and make the phone react accordingly. This combined with the ECMF technology makes this OnePlus device react to the user. By the way, this mmWave tech is borrowed from the 5G networks that are sprouting across the world.

As of now, OnePlus is stating two functional use cases, out of which one has the potential to change the way we use our smartphones.

1. Interactive notifications: Under this use case, the ECMF panel at the rear can act as a notification light by changing color. Users can then react to it with gestures without touching the phone, i.e. they can decide with a gesture whether to take a call or reject it.

2. Breathing monitor: Under this use case, OnePlus says the mmWave sensor can track someone’s breathing and alter the color on the rear panel to assist with breathing exercises. This is certainly an interesting use case but OnePlus is yet to explain how this technology works.

Since this is a concept, OnePlus isn’t putting this design into production soon. However, given the maturity of the technology as well as several rumors surrounding it, we could see something similar launch soon.

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