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Curved Screen Wrist Smartphone

NFC, touchscreen, sensors, cameras, and gesture recognition for emergency alerts

  • Android SDK
  • Customized Android OS
  • Custom touch screen panel
  • FPGA
  • NFC
  • fastdtw
  • CMUSphinx
  • Rigid-Flex PCB
  • Atlassian Jira
  • RxJava
Solution Curved wrist phone
Industry Consumer Electronics
Engagement Model T&M (time and materials)
Methodology Waterfall
Team
  • Hardware Developers
  • QA Engineer
  • PCB Engineers
  • Project Manager
  • Android System Software Developer
  • Android Developers
  • Business Analyst
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Customer

Problem

The client was looking for an experienced service provider with relevant hardware design and software development skills to create a curved wrist phone. The initial requirement was to develop a prototype that would demonstrate specific capabilities in an unconventional form-factor: NFC, touchscreen, sensors, cameras, and gesture recognition for emergency alerts. 

Solution

The client intended to demo the prototype to potential investors to secure funds for the project. Softeq handled the development  across several areas — hardware, enclosure, and software.

HARDWARE

The smartphone prototype was to have a custom rigid-flex PCB to underlie the curved device shape. Hardware-wise, the prototype was to support the following capabilities:

  • Custom curved touchscreen with special functional zones (time, app icons)
  • Front and rear camera
  • Heart-rate sensor
  • Magnetometer, accelerometer sensor
  • LED light
  • NFC

SOFTWARE

The team developed a custom app ecosystem to incorporate the demo software so that it met the unconventional screen layout.

Audio Player

The app features a list of songs playable on a tap. The tapped song is displayed as “Playing now” in the list of all songs of this artist.

Business Cards Exchanger

Two phones with the apps installed when placed into proximity would exchange data using NFC. To be able to install the app on the curved phone, the team had to tune up the Android OS at the Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL). This helped overwrite the default Android behavior – minimizing the running application and requiring users to confirm the steps.

Emergency App

The app is motion and voice recognition enabled. It sends emergency alerts via email to a designated list of contacts. To set up the app, the user teaches it using gestures and voice commands which activate the SOS function.

The team performed RD to assess the available methods, tools, and libraries for implementing the motion and voice recognition capabilities.

Heart Rate Monitor

The app measures current heart rate value (bpm) and displays a chart with real-time beat stats. To measure heart rate, the user needs to press his/her finger to a designated area on the device. To secure measurements precision, the team made some changes to HAL.

Lock and Launch Screens

The software enables the user to unlock the phone with a swipe gesture and shows date and time in the device format. The start screen has a hexagon structure layout and has the following elements:

  • Date and time
  • Favorite apps area
  • All apps
  • Swipeable dashboards with app icons

ENCLOSURE

The team hired a manufacturer in Italy who agreed to design and produce a curved shape enclosure. Given the PoC nature of the device, the enclosure was to provide a hard plastic casing to fit in the rigid-flex PCB and allow mounting on the hand.

Challenge

As the device is a brand-new smart solution, the company faced the following challenges due to technological limitations:

  • No mature flexi-screen technology available yet.
  • Few flexi-screen manufacturers with touch screen capabilities.
  • No variety in flexi-screen sizes available currently. That’s why the device cannot be adapted to multiple wrist sizes.
  • Curved smartphone enclosure availability is a matter of future.

Results

Once the client secured financial support of investors, they planned to continue the development. The customer aimed to deal with the identified technological roadblocks (e.g. flexi-screen, powerful battery, curved touch panel, etc.) and implement new features (e.g. e-lock, browser, demo game adapted to the curved screen shape, etc.)