Wireless Wonders

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

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Thinking of you...idea #43/100...

In my previous post, I wrote about the possibility of using mobiles for non-verbal communication, especially to enhance emotional ties. For example, how might we send to a loved one an "I'm thinking of you" message, or sentiment?

Just to clarify, I'm not interested in texting (including MMS) or calling. These are not immediate enough. This also rules out ringing once and hanging up (I forget the slang for it), which can be used as a kind of "thinking of you" app.

Let me give an example of an idea that has the feel that I'm trying to explore. Imagine that a mobile can be made to glow. I visualise this as a white plastic shell that glows pink, turquoise, or red - something like that. The colour would ideally be selectable. Two such devices can be mated. Touching one device - or holding it - causes the other device to glow.

The idea has limitations and would only work under certain conditions, but I like the immediacy and the intimacy. A user could be sitting in an office with the phone on the desk and simply watch it glow when their loved one touches their device. Touch seems important here, as it represents actual physical touch between the two parties.

A similar mechanism could be achieved through the use of a photo. Perhaps by displaying a photo (of the recipient) on the "sending" device and having the user stroke it, the user's photo would appear on the "receiving" device. This is, of course, not much different from MMS in function, but the immediacy and the touching might produce a greater sense of bonding and attachment.

With MMS, like any messaging, the mode is very much "fire and forget". There is no sense of lingering attachment to the sender, except an imagined one. Whereas, with "stroke messaging", or "touch messaging", there is an explicit real-time connection: the link can only be established and maintained by active participation.

I hope to come back to this theme ("Thinking of you...") in some future posts.

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