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Fabian Hemmert [fabianhemmert.com] tries to solve the question "How to Make Digital Content Graspable?" in a quite original way. In his short TEDx talk, and the according movie which you can watch below, you can check out his innovative inventions to depict and interface with data on a mobile phone through three different ways.

The weight-shifting method allows a phone to communicate to users where to walk by dynamically changing its gravitational center along two axes. The shape-changing method is able to convey where more information is located outside of the screen by changing the thickness of a phone at its corners. And lastly, the 'living' method allows a mobile phone to display emotional states due to a continuous heartbeat and breathing-like motion that can be felt ambiently in your trouser pocket.

See also Physical Weight of Data, DataMorphose and ce.real.



thats the most useless thing iv ever seen

Tue 02 Feb 2010 at 2:52 AM
alan jessop

I agree that it is somewhat useless at this point in this stage of development. However, I do like the weight shifting concept in the sense that it does show potential for certain applications in the future with further development. Yet, these additional feedbacks may require a new to grip the phone so that you don't accidentally drop it when it decides to shift all its weight to an area that causes to fall from your hands.

Tue 02 Feb 2010 at 4:32 AM
Ed Pritch

Just what i want my phone to get top heavy when im not paying attention and smash to the floor.......Agreed what a waste of time....

Tue 02 Feb 2010 at 4:38 AM

Seems to me the weighted map feature would be fantastic for those with visual impairments.

Tue 02 Feb 2010 at 4:57 AM


I agree with Mr. Linabury re: the impaired. Mr. Jessop, useless is quite harsh - open your mind; after all, most apps and games are "useless", that is of course unless you need them or enjoy them.

Embrace innovation and the thinkers, it is they who drive us forward!
Nora Goodman
Twitter - MsMobileConverg

Tue 02 Feb 2010 at 5:44 AM

you'll get a slap on your face when your phone change its shape in your jeans pocket

Tue 02 Feb 2010 at 8:26 AM

It is a CONCEPT.

This means that these things are not useful yet.

But the things he is describing could be useful if implemented the right way. Comments like "thats the most useless thing iv ever seen", are not intelligent and only serve to cast you in a poor light.

The things he explores in this video could be incredibly useful one day. It will just take him, or possibly another exploring mind combined with what he has already fleshed out here to bring it into usefulness.

By that time, jessop, you might even be manager at your Taco Bell.

Tue 02 Feb 2010 at 1:08 PM
Andrew S

Changing the interface features of common technologies may not seem useless to those people not well-served by the standard interface. Hemmert mentions the visually-impaired in his presentation, and I imagine his line of research leading to new designs suited to the needs of people on the autism spectrum.

Sat 06 Feb 2010 at 5:19 AM

This reminds me a little bit of siftable digital blocks (http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2009/02/ted-siftable-co/) I agree with the general premise here. Digital content will intrude more into the material world in the near (10 years) future.

Tue 16 Feb 2010 at 9:54 AM

That is a great concept, as Dave said, not only for the visually impaired. We can't ignore haptic features with the advance of touchscreens.

The digital needs to be tangible and include more senses, be it for deeper immersion or just faster processing.

Sun 21 Feb 2010 at 6:33 AM
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