Thursday, November 18, 2010

Behold, the acoustic dumbphone

I was catching up with Digital Planet the other day and came across a feature about one of the most ludicrous technologies to emerge from closeted academia in recent years.

Some Cambridge University boffins have written a piece of software that purports to transform an ordinary cellphone into a highly-desirable touch-screen smartphone.

Text-based entry is replaced by some little icons. and when the user pushes these in imitation of standard iPhone use, the handset's microphone listens in for the resulting noise and can (apparently) accurately determine which part of the screen was touched. Instant swankiness?

But hold on, you can't just gently tap these icons with the fleshy tip of your finger, you'll quite often need some sort of stylus or at least fingernails like our favourite teller at BAC.

Steve Jobs must be chuckling. After a few days of using one of these enhanced Nokias the first thing you're likely to do is go out and buy an iPhone. He should fund these guys.

The possibilities are extensive, the BBC guys suggested enthusiastically. OK we may just be talking about the market for impecunious, thick-fingered folk with accessibility issues, but let's not put a premature damper on another great British invention.

Still not underwhelmed? You can catch a full demo here.

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