Sometimes, a concept device really makes you sit back and think to yourself, “is this possible?” Surely I’m not the only one that is thinking the same thing about the Seabird concept device from Mozilla Labs, which would truly push the boundaries of a mobile device if a physical unit ever sees the light of day.
The most interesting thing about this concept, and ultimately the least plausible, is the dual Pico projectors, which can simulate a physical QWERTY keyboard that can be interacted with by the user, as well as project the phone’s display in a much larger format.
Kind of like a swiss army knife, this concept device also houses a wireless pointer, as well as a pop-out Bluetooth headset. While both of these sound cool, in reality they just don’t seem very practical.
The Mozilla Seabird, part of the Mozilla Labs’ Concept Series, is an experiment in how users might interact with their mobile content as devices and technology advances. Drawing on insights culled from the Mozilla community through the project’s blog, a focus quickly developed around frustrating physical interactions. While mobile CPUs, connectivity and development platforms begin approaching that of desktops, the lagging ability to efficiently input information has grown ever more pronounced.
With mobile phone companies such as Samsung, LG and Motorola moving towards display applications for projectors, the technology remains open for expanding user interaction and input at the same time. The Seabird, on just a flat surface, enables netbook-quality interaction by working with the projector’s angular distortion to deliver interface, rather than content. With the benefit of a dock, each projector works independently and delivers laptop levels of efficiency.
The Seabird, then, introduces a few possibilities into how user interaction might evolve with the advancing motion capture and projector driven innovation in the market. First out, the Seabird imagines how a multiple use dongle might augment the crowded gestural interface with greater precision and direct manipulation of content in 3D space.
The form development took its cues from various aerodynamic, avian and decidedly feminine forms. Its erect posture intends a sense of poise while its supine conformity to the hand reconciles that with the user’s desire for digital control. The curvature of the back also serves a functional role in elevating the projector lens elements when lying flat.