Old cell phone users have probably never had to worry about their phone getting a little too friendly with them, but that may soon change if Berlin University of Arts design researcher Fabian Hemmert gets his way. The risqué researcher has come up with a series of prototypes for cell phones that can breathe, grasp or even kiss their operator, as demonstrated at the Stockholm Mobile HCI conference in Sweden last week.
“Mobile phones use so little of our sensory abilities,” Hemmert claims. “They are great for information exchange – text, video and speech – but they provide no feeling of nearness.”
The grasping cell phone features force sensors on both sides of the cell phone and a hand strap, so that when one user grasps their phone, a signal is received by a motor in the other phone that pulls the strap tighter. The breathing cell phone likewise transmits air movement, featuring a pressure sensor on one side of the phone with a jet on the other.
The kissing cell phone is doubtless the most extreme of the prototypes, consisting of a moisture sensor on the phone of the sender, and the receiver’s phone featuring a motorized wet sponge that pushes against a semi-permeable membrane. How far the sponge move depends on how wet the sender’s kiss is, meaning the receiver can tell the difference between a kiss on the cheek and a full blown snog.
Given that Hemmert’s colleagues have described the effect of the amorous phones as “awkward”, “creepy”, “disturbing” and “disgusting”, whether the features will be available commercially any time soon remains to be seen.