Capacitive touch sensor on outside of cell phone

Since writing in the previous post about an end to all ringing of cellphones through the use of cheap bluetooth enabled vibrating devices in watches, belts, shoes and other wearables, I’ve been listening to the cacophany of rings in public meetings (even those were people are told to put their phone on vibrate.) One thing I am sure we’ve all experienced is hearing somebody’s ring get louder and louder in a meeting as they fumble to get the phone and open it to press the silence button.

I suggest the phone have a capacitave sensor on the outside so it knows when human skin is touching it. Once you are holding the phone there is no need for it to keep ringing, and certainly not to keep increasing in volume. Then one could open it and send the call to voicemail (or, in my design, push the button that answers and plays a recording to the caller saying you are walking out of a meeting and will be able to talk shortly.)

Of course, many of these fumbles are caused by phones that vibrate first, then start playing ringtone and then increase the volume of the tone. That’s not a bad design though obviously phones are often in a place where they are vibrating and that’s not being noticed. For those fumbling in a bag for their phone there will still be lots of loud noise.

It would be nice if phones had cheap accelerometers in them and only got really loud when they knew they were sitting still. In particular, if a phone has been sitting still for a while, and starts vibrating/ringing, and then it suddenly notices it is picked up thanks to the accelerometer, it could reduce the ringing (and perhaps do more flashing.) This might not work too well in vehicles, unfortunately. In cars we don’t care about loud rings but in trains we do.

sensor outside mobile phone is allready inside..

Brad,

Not bad, perhaps this is something:
I know that there is an invention that blocks the radiosignal of cell phones inside buildings, like hospitals and so.
Perhaps this invention is also usefull to do the following:
Every phone can offcourse receive signals like radio signals, blue tooth technology.
Iff some software in the phone recognize a special kind of signal it turns automaticly on vibrating. So if the signal is transmitting, all phones inside a building turn on vibrating, the ring sound automaticly turns off. This feature could than be standard activated in new phones.

Please let me know how you think about this.
Great website by the way, I enjoyed the story of Bill Gates.

Best regards,
Mark.

Old idea

This is a common and old suggestion, but has never been done because it requires a protocol for multiple devices. And a radio signal can't really be easily limited to a room without a lot of work, so the broadcast to tell the phones you are in a meeting would hit phones nearby. And alas, would also get misused.

It's easier to sell a feature one phone at a time, at least right now. But some day such a protocol might come about, particularly with more accurate phone positioning so you can really tell if the phone is in the hall or not.

Ringing cellphones

Brad,
... Just read your post about cell phones ringing at the most inappropriate times. Last Saturday, my 44 year-old Brother-in-law died suddenly. During the funeral Mass on Wednesday, while I was doing my duty and reading a passage at the altar, wouldn't you know it, a cell phone rang. During a funeral. Jeez. You would think people would know by now, just as they should know that hands-free is obligatory in the car. Most cell phone calls are unnecessary (not pressing), in my opinion, and to think that people will get into accidents and perhaps suffer serious physical (and fiscal) harm while talking about something trivial, it makes you wonder...

Earl

When they ask to turn off phones

Nobody pays attention it seems. Now my phone is normally in vib+ring mode, which vibrates for a while, and then starts ringing. If I were more compliant, I would switch it to vibe only in meetings, though they don't make it easy to do. I'm working on other solutions.

However, as I noted, we should just get rid of all ringtones. But before we do that, we could have phones that don't go into ring mode if you touch them while vibrating as I suggest, or which sense if they are worn on the body with temperature or other means, and know not to ring then.

My plan to get rid of ringing 99% of the time is radical, but I think it will come to pass years down the road.

Actually some cell phones make this quite easy

I know that the Kyocera brand phones available on Verizon all use the volume down button to activate vibe only mode. All one has to do is hold the volume down button for a few seconds and the phone does an ultimate volume down and goes into vibe mode. Simple UI, but not everyone follows it... Motorola tends to bury the vibe command down a couple levels in their menu.

Along the same lines I have seen TV remote controls that wisely put the mute button right in line with the volume down button... just side your finger down and you hit mute.

Its all about ergonomics and good UIs.

Still a button

I see people fiddle with their phones in their bags or belt clips for quite some time before they get to the point of pushing specific buttons. I want to go further to touching -- or of course, not ringing at all directly, as discussed in other posts.

I always think that this

I always think that this whole vibrate-only thing is a conspiracy of men. When my phone vibrates in my purse I don't hear it. I have my phone set on the longest ring available to give me enough time to locate it. Until there are reasonable pockets in women's clothing a vibrate-only phone just isn't going to make it.

follow the link

to the earlier post, found at the top of this one, and you will understand.

plenty of womens clothing

plenty of womens clothing has pockets; it seems according to many women, they dont want pockets, as stuff in them 'ruins the line of the clothing'.....

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Post new comment

His name is Brad Templeton. You figure it out.
Please make up a name if you do not wish to give your real one.
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
Personal home pages only. Posts with biz home pages get deleted and search engines ignore all links
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options