The Rotary Cell Phone

It’s happened. It’s finally happened. In a move that has hipsters donning their good flannel and breaking out that case of Genesee they were saving for a special occasion, the rotary cell phone is now a reality.

[Jaromir] created this astonishingly retro future device as an entry for the NXP LPC810 challenge, a contest to do the most with an ARM Cortex M0+ microcontroller in an 8-pin package. Having only six I/O pins for controlling a GSM module, display a few buttons, and the fancy rotary dial meant [Jaromir] needed to expand his I/O some way. He chose a shift register to handle the buttons and display in a somewhat impressive demonstration of using a shift register as both an input and output expander at the same time.

From the videos [Jaromir] uploaded, the rotary cell phone isn’t ready for Think Geek to do a production run quite yet. He needs to enter the PIN for the SIM card, AT commands for the GSM module, and is, of course, a horrible method of user input for the younglings who have only seen rotary phones in old movies. That being said, it’s a rotary cell phone running on an 8-pin microcontroller. What more do you want?

Videos of this awesome this truly awesome phone in action below. If you’d like to build your own – and why wouldn’t you – all the files are available on [Jaromir]’s git

30 thoughts on “The Rotary Cell Phone

    1. I loved the SparkFun rotary phone. It makes me sad that it is retired…

      “a horrible method of user input for the younglings who have only seen rotary phones in old movies.” You’re looking at the wrong audience. This would be perfect for the baby boomer generation that knew how to use a phone, and hate the smart phones or even feature phones. My kids do everything but talk on their phones.

    1. I was thinking the same thing, only many, many minutes…and no backspace key. Onward to a digital camera that requires an expensive roll of plastic that must be loaded in the dark….

  1. I wonder if you could squeeze *everything* in to the footprint of the dialer, a small circular oled display where the paper phone number sticker lives, and the rest of the works in a clear case on the back. So much cooler than an iSlab … it would also have the added advantage of rolling in to an inconvenient location if you dropped it rather than shattering expensively like a miniature glass bus shelter.

  2. I would like to respectfully object to linking Genesee beer to hipsters. My father-in-law would disrepectfully disagree with a violent stare, if he were alive. Genesee beer is fuel to a whole generation of Rochester working class men who would gladly defend her honor with a shovel. It’s not some trend hipsters get to “discover”.

    1. There’s nothing you can do about it. In big cities, where hipsters live, they are the ones who drink it. Thus, people who live in cities associate it with hipsters. Sorry dude

  3. It’s cool, could have been implemented many other ways but it is what it is. I look forward to seeing other readers submit their own iteration. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I used to hate these old rotary dials. So did it’s inventors at Bell Labs. That’s why even in early 20th century they did try push button phones. If you ever saw the stepper relays at a central station you would be amazed at the electromechanical technology. An old rotary dialer will still work on your landline, however, it used TTL logic now.

    What I would like to see is the mind-controlled dialer. There is a new technology that reads your brain signals to the throat before you actually speak. You just think the words or numbers and move your tongue in unison and words and numbers appear on the screen.

  5. I can remember trying to dial faster by using my finger to force the dial back more quickly. The benefits seemed to be limited by some sort of governor in the mechanism.

  6. This reminds me of a project I was thinking about yesterday – a TV remote control with an analog detent knob, like the old TV’s had.

    Unfortunately it is hard to duplicate the speed of nearly instant channel flipping we had in the analog era.

  7. SERIOUSLY?! I made a steampunk rotary phone app for androids like two years ago (still have it on google play) this one is pretty sweet though, im not gunna lie. mine looks cooler though. although it looks kind of stupid on the big screens people are toating around now….

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