Wireless Wonders

No news, just comment about mobile phones and services, from a veteran practitioner...3G, GPRS, WAP, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc...

Sunday, February 06, 2005

100 Mobile Product Ideas...#4...

Ever wanted to walk right up to a wall and spray some graffiti all over it? I think I know how you can do it without causing a mess, or getting arrested for vandalism. You can use a motion-sensing mobile to spray virtual paint.

Those of you who followed my last blog and my piece on Spatial Messaging know that I have an interest in graffiti and mobiles. It sprang from doing some consultancy for a hip-hop company.

I picked up the story going round in January about the new Samsung phone that has a built-in movement detection device. It immediately aroused my interest. I had been playing with this idea when looking at peep-hole displays, which I still think is a good idea (I tried patenting some aspects). I went out and bought a Gyration mouse to see what movement sensing felt like. I still use it - it's an impressive device.

As far as the idea of the movement sensing as a general input device, I'm not sure. Barbara Ballard has some interesting things to say about it. One thing I picked up from the guys at Gyration (and from my own experience with their product) is that accelerometers consume quite a bit of energy. Battery life suffers.

Waving your phone in the air to enter phone numbers seems daft to me, so I'm not expecting much from this device. But spraying paint. Well...maybe. And there's always war-chalking!

Well...back to the idea. It's simple. Walk up to any wall and spray your message on it. Of course, it can't be seen visibly, because it's not there. But with the right software on your camera-phone..voila! It's visible: "Paul Woz 'Ere and liked it."

In fact, you don't really need an accelerometer to do this. With a camera and some simply optical-sensing software, you can make it work just like an optical mouse.

How do we know where to look for this graffiti?

There are variety of solutions to that problem. One possibility is to allocate areas where users are invited to spray their virtual graffiti and it gets used as a kind of virtual bulletin board. This idea I blogged about earlier, including the use of near-field communication tagging to interact with the wall.

Graffiti or bulletins...these are messages from one user to another, or to lots of other users. In the mobile world, messaging is money. That's how it works at the moment.

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