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The cellular squirrel screens your calls (yes, we said squirrel).

Cellular Squirrel

We love the concept behind this device — to screen your cellphone calls for importance while you’re busy chatting up someone else — we just have no idea why it involves a squirrel. MIT’s Stefan Marti has developed the Bluetooth, animatronic, context-aware Cellular Squirrel as part of his dissertation project — when it picks up an incoming call, it actually engages the remote caller in a conversation and compares keywords from the interaction to keywords picked up from the conversation you’re having nearby. It combines this data with your contact list and the caller’s tone of voice to determine whether the call is important enough to interrupt you. Yeah, we laugh at it, but we secretly want one, because to get your attention it gyrates its body in that animatronic way that makes us feel kinda funny. We’ve installed a fleet of 20 in the Engadget call center.

[Via Mobile burn]

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Reader Comments

1. Posted Jul 15, 2005, 7:49 PM ET by anon

it's so cute......

can it tell the call that you can't answer the phone right now because you've gone 'nuts'

2. Posted Jul 15, 2005, 8:36 PM ET by Michael

Just wait until these guys start flipping out and going after people... Just like squirrels always do!

3. Posted Jul 15, 2005, 9:33 PM ET by Justin

Oh come on man - the question really is, why NOT a squirrel? Duhhh.

4. Posted Jul 15, 2005, 9:42 PM ET by KBrew

A squirrel once saved my New Jersey ass from some pigeons that came from NYC to kill me.

5. Posted Jul 15, 2005, 10:03 PM ET by steve

my wife bought a busted squirrel beanie baby off eBay because it endured a "hard winter" and now it's lodged "secretly" in one of our house plants.

we're so gonna get this

6. Posted Jul 15, 2005, 10:03 PM ET by Pat

This is really just anouther way for Big Brother to watch us and their just packaging it in a cuwt wittwe squiwwel. Awwwwwww. *buys 1,000 to hand out to people on the street corner*

7. Posted Jul 15, 2005, 10:23 PM ET by SR

I need one right now.

8. Posted Jul 15, 2005, 10:28 PM ET by Finished.Law.School

"Don't touch that squirrels' nuts."

9. Posted Jul 15, 2005, 10:49 PM ET by Fixen

It's been a while since I've seen anything that's cool and cute at the same time.

Why can't Mr. Marti just make the squirrel throw a nut at the caller instead?

10. Posted Jul 15, 2005, 11:05 PM ET by GOD

The only question is: Where can I pick up one of these?

11. Posted Jul 15, 2005, 11:38 PM ET by Lenbot

I never owned a cell phone before but to own 1 of those. I would probably by one. Its better than a lazy cat who just sits there and looks at the phone.

12. Posted Jul 15, 2005, 11:50 PM ET by joe


13. Posted Jul 16, 2005, 2:36 AM ET by Man

A rat version for us in NYC would be cool.

14. Posted Jul 16, 2005, 9:38 AM ET by Blue Gramps

I molest children: bluegramps@yahoo.com

15. Posted Jul 16, 2005, 1:31 PM ET by Permanent4



16. Posted Jul 16, 2005, 2:05 PM ET by Scott Zoeller

I think this will only create more issues in regards to screening calls. You can't program every possible circumstance, so you could miss the call of a lifetime and break a call for a joker just because of this little rodent. And besides, you'd only have access to it's useless abilities at a permanent site unless you're nutty enough to carry this thing around. What's wrong with programming your cell phone to have a caller priority list and an emergency option on call waiting. I just wonder what lengths people will go to come up with the next 'so-called' big hit.

17. Posted Jul 16, 2005, 6:15 PM ET by Mary

Wow! Very impressive!

18. Posted Jul 17, 2005, 11:35 AM ET by Samuel Lago

This is the kind of stuff I want to see coming out of MIT more often, nice one!

19. Posted Jul 25, 2005, 1:34 PM ET by Andrew B

I think it's funny that an ad for humane squirrel traps appears on the context-ads part of this page.

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