Indicating the importance of entertainment functions to future mobile phone development, Nokia has chosen to locate its latest research lab in Hollywood.
Nokia Research Center (NRC) Hollywood will work on technologies related to film, music, games, web and TV, many of which are likely to be sensor based. Among the research topics it will investigate are mixed reality, content creation and user interface experiences.
Commented Rebecca Allen, director of the lab: "The link with the movie industry is naturally strong, however the entertainment concepts we will be working on at the NRC Hollywood laboratory are even more diverse. The laboratory will explore new entertainment experiences that combine the physical and digital worlds. Our research work will focus on mixed reality experiences, with a strong community flavour. We will develop new user interfaces that fully explore the role of the human body and human motion for more natural forms of interaction."
Tapani Ryhanen, head of Multimedia Devices Research at NRC, recently alluded to the greater role sensors will play in future mobile phones. At the MEMS Executive Congress conference, he displayed a mobile phone concept design called 'morph' for the 2012 timeframe. Incorporating features such as transparency and transformability, his design featured technologies such as MEMS accelerometers and microbolometers that would enable the handset to sense and respond to its environment, as well as sensors that would provide an indication of the user's emotional state and potentially, well being.
The Hollywood NRC is the latest in a string of research partnerships for Nokia's research group. This year, NRC announced a joint research program with two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne and Zurich (EPFL and ETH Zurich) and opened a lab on the campus of Helsinki University of Technology in Finland.