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    Let a squirrel answer your mobile phone

posted 11:30am EST Mon Jul 18 2005 - submitted by Brian Osborne


Stefan Marti of the Speech Interface Group at the MIT Media Lab has developed a new agent that can control a cellphone in a way that makes it a personal companion for the user. The Cellular Squirrel interacts with cellphones by using a Bluetooth connection to a PC that takes care of control processes. In specific terms, the device's benefit is that it "... is able to use the same subtle but still public non-verbal cues to get our attention and interrupt us like humans would do (like eye gaze and small gestures), instead of ringing or vibration." The Cellular Squirrel can answer phone calls on behalf of the user and can also act as an intermediary between the cellphone and its owner. It can also stop relaying the conversation from the caller to the recipient and simply allow synchronous voice communication by letting the user talk through it (i.e., directly to the cellphone). The point? "The Cellular Squirrel is part of a larger project that aims at adding elements of human style social intelligence to our mobile communication devices in order to make them more socially acceptable to both user and local others. It is an Autonomous Interactive Intermediary that assumes the role of an actively mediating party between caller, callee, and co-located people." Though the Cellular Squirrel is functional, you would have to be a little uncomfortable to be seen talking to a stuffed squirrel if an observer weren't aware of its capabilities; some people might even think you're nuts. You had to see that pun coming. Read more about the device and see demo videos at the Cellular Squirrel website.

USER COMMENTS 6 comment(s)
I'm sorry (11:46am EST Mon Jul 18 2005)
but that is just ridiculous. - by Young Man!
Why only a sqirrel ? (12:19pm EST Mon Jul 18 2005)
The possibilities endless. It's the buttphone master Wayne. Of all the assholes we have to talk to that would be the appropriate facade for this device. - by RCAman
Finally (1:57pm EST Mon Jul 18 2005)
I should start patenting ideas I have, because I thought of something like this over 5 years ago.

Basically, cellphones are annoying. When they ring, few people actually consider the fact that answering the phone while talking to another person, IN PERSON, is rude. The problem is, by the time you excuse yourself and leave the vicinity (or find some private corner where your not bothering other people), like few people do, the person calling has already hung up or leaving a message, which just causes the phone to beep or another ringtone.

The idea I had was to simply build in some automated response system that would let the person calling know that your going to answer the phone momentarily, just can't at that exact moment. Something like a digital secretary answering the phone and letting you know that the person your calling will be answering shortly, or if you would prefer, leave a message and they will call back.

This is not like an answering machine, which just asks you to talk at the beep, this is just a temporary buffer before the person answers the phone. The idea is to let the caller know your aware of the call, just to hang on a moment or two to when they can answer the phone.

This would prevent people dropping everything or stopping the converstaion and rushing to grab their phone and answering it immediately.

You can also include the ability to leave a variety of messages, that coorespond to different senarios, like the whole "Be back in 15 minutes", or "in a meeting", or "out to lunch", or "on the can". Answering machines just store one generic message, this can be fine tuned to corresponsd to the situation that best fits.

In all these cases, it lets the originating caller know that you are aware of the call, just can't answer it immediately, or are busy, unlike calling an cellphone that is turned off, out of range, or unattended.

This, like the computer keyboard I thought up 10 years ago that incorporated LCD/Display screens into the keys are all being talked about today and I am sure the patent's have already been applied for. Actually, I wrote up a project proposal as an engineering excersise for the keyboard concept, perhaps I can still get a patent due to prior-art!!!!
- by Topher
Thanksgiving/Steve Garton Get Together (4:43pm EST Mon Jul 18 2005)
Luxury car possibility. It is resistance of Wayne of buttphone. We must have this speech, having the place, emits advisable for everything. Preg-reprobaciones this unit.

In everything to these rectangles on which the main computer is beginning to know that Sid did not take through the attention, to answer immediately can be uniform or to be fulled, of the difference the end to control the end to indicate cellphone, ulteriorly to, of
the thrown one occurs return outside or. - by The Advisore
I forsee all sorts of (7:57am EST Tue Jul 19 2005)
interesting, as well as annoying, possibilities. Soon it will be virtually impossible to speak to a live person on the first attempt. Oh, wait, that already happened. But now you get more options? Perhaps this is another opporunity for Hello Kitty to extend its quest for utter global supremacy.... - by earl e adopter
Free Paintball (10:45pm EST Sun Aug 21 2005)
free for all again http://freepaintballgun.com free paintball marker and free paintball gun for all paintball packages - by Paintball marker

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