The WhammyPhone is an experimental digital instrument you play by bending

If the name WhammyPhone doesn’t sound crazy enough, wait until you hear what happens when you bend the device. That’s right, the WhammyPhone has a flexible screen and body that when bent out of shape, becomes a virtual musical instrument. It’s the work of the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, and goes way beyond being a simple novelty. Creator Dr. Vertegaal calls it, “a new way of interacting with sound using a smartphone.”

It may be a stretch calling it a smartphone, despite it running Android from what we can tell, but that doesn’t stop it from being a really interesting use of flexible screen technology. Sensors inside the WhammyPhone measure the amount of bend and flex, and translate this into sound when connected to a synthesizer or computer. This could be anything from pressure and movement exerted on violin strings, to tweaking the sound of an electric guitar, similar to the whammy bar, from which it presumably takes its name.

The display, a flexible OLED panel, has a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, and also shows various buttons for playing different sounds. Elsewhere, there is software designed for DJs to control loops, feedback, and other effects during performances. It’s more intuitive, says Vertegaal, than using traditional knobs, dials, and sliders. It’s the same for musicians, who “feel” strings and other physical elements associated with playing an instrument, without actually having an instrument in their hands.

It’s not the first innovative use of flexible screen tech we’ve seen come out of Queen’s University. Earlier this year, the Human Media Lab showed a phone called the ReFlex, which when bent replicated the turn of a page in a book, or added another control element to games. Like the ReFlex, there’s no indication the WhammyPhone will ever become a real product, but the innovative uses of flexible screens may end up being used in future devices.

Music

From Jay Rock to Saba, these are the 50 best albums of 2018

We've spent the year listening to new albums, digging deep, and culling our master list into 50 favorites. From blockbuster releases to hidden gems, these are the best albums of 2018.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in December, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to endangered cats

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Mobile

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.
Mobile

OnePlus's 5G phone should arrive in May 2019, may cost up to $850

OnePlus will be among the first companies to put the new Snapdragon 855 processor into a phone, and will also release a separate and more expensive 5G phone in 2019 with the help of U.K. network EE.
Product Review

The Black Shark gaming phone takes a big bite out of your free time, but the software sinks it

The world is being treated to an ever-increasing number of high-powered gaming phones. With so many great options already out, is there room for another? The Black Shark thinks so. But is it any good? We find out.
Mobile

Santa Claus is coming to town. Get ready with these Christmas apps

Like it or not, Christmas comes but once a year. Thankfully, we've got a list of the best Christmas apps to help get you into the holiday spirit, just in case you want to call Santa or become a Christmas elf.
Gaming

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.
Mobile

Google makes it easy to donate to charity straight through the Play Store

As we head into the holiday season, Google announced a new feature on Google Play that makes it a little easier to donate to charity. Through the new page, you'll be able to choose from a range of charities to donate to.
Deals

REI clearance sale extends discounts on Garmin, Fitbit, and GoPro devices

Beyond the things you typically expect to find at REI — like tents, skis, and jackets — there are tons of great deals on quality tech foryour outdoor adventures. From smartwatches to action cameras, here are the best tech deals.
Wearables

These are the best smartwatches for everything from fashion to fitness

Tempted to buy a smartwatch? If so, then the growing number of great models available means you've got plenty to choose from. But which one should you pick? Here is our list of the best smartwatches.
Mobile

Sprint’s 5G rollout: Everything you need to know

Sprint is building its next-gen 5G network in preparation for a 2019 rollout, but it's taking a decidedly different approach than some of its competitors, including Verizon and AT&T. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

The Galaxy S10 may be announced before MWC, sell for up to $1,750

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.