March 3, 2011
Researchers Invent Human-shaped Phone
Japanese researchers said on Thursday that they have developed a human-shaped mobile phone with a skin-like outer layer that allows users to feel closer to those on the other end.
"The mobile phone may feel like the person you are talking to," the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) said in a press release, describing the gadget as a "revolutionary telecom medium".
Osaka University collaborated on the project with mobile telephone operator NTT DoCoMo and other institutes.
They hope to put the product into commercial production within five years by adding image and voice recognition functions.
ATR officials said the prototype features an outer coating that feels like human skin.
A speaker is installed in the head of the doll-like gadget and a light-emitting diode in its chest turns blue when the phone is in use and red when it is in standby mode.
The press release said that the body resembles a human being but its design is so blurred that it could be taken as either male or female and young or old.
Image Courtesy Osaka University and Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International