OnePlus 8T Concept smartphone has been unveiled, based on the OnePlus 8T flagship. It comes with an all-new back panel that features a colour-changing film. The film can shift colours from dark blue to light silver. OnePlus 8T Concept also includes a millimetre wave (mmWave) radar module on the rear camera bump to enable touchless controls and a breathing monitor. The concept phone has been envisioned by a team of 39 designers who are based out of Shenzhen, Taipei, New York, and India.
Unlike the regular OnePlus 8T that has a normal glass back, OnePlus 8T Concept features an all-new rear covering with patterns that are inspired from natural elements. There is a colour-changing film behind the glass back panel that contains metal oxide in glass and can change its colour from dark blue to light silver. OnePlus said that the film switches between the two colours when the metal oxide activates.
This enables the back of the OnePlus 8T Concept to light up when receiving new notifications. Although the experience is just like how you are informed about a new message or call through a notification LED light, the technology used by OnePlus prominently flashes the patterns on the back to gain your attention.
Alongside the new back design, OnePlus 8T Concept includes a mmWave radar module that transmits and receives electromagnetic waves. This enables the inbuilt digital signal processing (DSP) unit and CPU to process receives from the waves to allow the device to perceive, image, locate, and track objects. The use cases are similar to a Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor, though OnePlus said that the radar isn't affected by the environment.
The presence of mmWave module enables OnePlus 8T Concept to use touchless gesture controls, including ‘double tap' and ‘distance recognition.' These can be used for accepting or rejecting a voice call by covering the camera module with your hand. You can also cover the camera to change the colour of the phone's back cover.
OnePlus claimed that apart from enabling gestures, the mmWave module can also register your breathing to enable the colours on the back to change in sync. The module uses software algorithms to measure respiration to record the millimetre-level movement of the chest during breathing, the company said.
It is worth pointing out that the inbuilt radar doesn't require 5G mmWave networks to enable gesture controls. This means that the new technology can work even in markets including India where 5G is yet to become public.
OnePlus 8T Concept will not be available for purchase commercially in the market. However, OnePlus does have plans to evaluate the advancements it used in the concept device to make some of them available in its future offerings.
Back in January, OnePlus brought the OnePlus Concept One as its first concept phone. That model was developed in collaboration with British motor racing team McLaren and featured an electrochromic glass panel on the top of its rear camera setup that could turn transparent or opaque to reveal or hide the camera sensors.
Is OnePlus 8T the best 'value flagship' of 2020? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.