IDEO, a design company, has designed five social mobiles to provoke discussions about the social impact of mobile phones. These are not meant as products, although working models have been built.
- This phone delivers a variable level of electric shock depending on how loudly the person at the other end is speaking. As a result the two parties are induced to speak more quietly.
- This phone allows the user to converse silently: a person receiving a call in a quiet space can respond without speaking, using simple but expressive sounds that they produce and intone manually.
- This phone requires the user to play the tune of the phone number they wish to call. The public performance that dialing demands acts as a litmus test of when it is appropriate to make a call.
- This user knocks on this phone to communicate the urgency of their call. The recipient hears this knock through their phone and can be discerning about which calls they answer.
- This phone can be used to launch sounds into other people’s phone conversations. This provides a direct yet discreet way of invading their space.
I find this interesting because of a) the social impact of gaming in public, b) bizarre user interfaces. I especially like the monosyllabic grunts.