When we first saw Vodaphone’s ringtone commercial where 1000 cell phones perform a section of the William Tell overture, we just assumed it was some slick video editing, not to be taken seriously. Apparently, we were wrong. They actually did this. They actually sent text messages to all the phones in correct timing to play the music. In the video after the break, you can see some details on how they pulled it off. They had to perform this during non peak usage hours to ensure that all their texts went through. We think this project is pretty impressive. Actually, we still don’t know how they pulled it off, we can’t seem to predict how long a text message will take to reach its destination with any kind of reproducible accuracy.
[Vlad-Andre] used some of his free time to build an alti-variometer. He does some para-gliding near restricted air space and wanted a backup altitude warning that would help keep him below the mandated altitude. His solution uses the SparkFun Weather Board in conjunction with their BlueSMiRF dongle to measure altitude and transmit it via Bluetooth. From there, he wrote a program to grab the transmitted data with his cell phone and display the information. His application also has the ability to set altitude warnings and log changes over time.
Using this system he is able to get altitude data with 3.5 inch accuracy. Because the capture application is written in Java it should be easy enough to make this work on other cell phone models. The project is clean and works well but we estimate the cost of the parts to be between $250-300, making it out of reach for those who don’t have a specific need for these types of measurements. This is especially true for paragliders who have much less expensive options available to them.
No matter how grumpy you are in the morning, this video should make you smile. This is one of the jobs many of us dream of. Take a tour around Nokia’s product testing facility with Engadget. Watch in the video as phones are squashed, pinched, smacked, baked, shaken, dialed, slid, opened, and closed repeatedly. Sure, we don’t get to see any of them obliterated, but it sure is fun to see those machines at work. Each one of these tests will be run until the phones eventually come apart or cease to function. Too bad they didn’t show us that part of it.
We’re starting to think that phone numbers are deprecated; it may be time to integrate how we connect telephones with the new digital millennium. To get a firm grasp on this topic it is important to take a look at the reason we started using phone numbers, why we still use them, and the why’s and how’s of transitioning to a new system.
Some grad students at Duke University have been working on a new tool for cell phones equipped with accellerometers. The software called Phonepoint Pen, allows you to write with your phone in the air. Though we don’t find the applications they mention very practical, we could see this being very nice for application navigation. If you could program a 3 dimentional gesture to load certain apps, that would be nice.
Sometimes you find yourself thinking “this cell phone is far to compact and unobtrusive.” [Trotmaster] had this thought and did something about it. Ok, well actually he’s trying to have some fun and build a glove phone, inspector gadget style. There really doesn’t seem to be a good reason to do this other than it would be cool, so we’ll proceed on those grounds. He has disassembled the phone and extended all the buttons. When wearing the glove, you can dial by pressing the finger tip buttons with your thumb. The screen is located on the back of the hand and can be lifted and rotated for easy viewing. Can anyone think of an application where this would be a beneficial layout, assuming you refined it a bit?
Sometimes you absolutely need to keep your phone a secret. You know, like when you’re on spy missions. The goons at the door will always frisk you, but they never check under your shoe, right? [mikeyberman] shows us how to make our own Maxwell Smart style shoe phone. All you need is to dig a giant hole in your shoe sole and cram a cell phone in there. Will it get ruined by water? Probably. Will you look like a goon trying to talk on it? Definitely. Can you make it through airport security? Try it and let us know.