Kissing Phones and Other Weird Technology

Technology is a marvelous, magical thing. There are so many innovations readily available today that seemed impossible even a few short years ago. And yet, it seems that many technological innovators could stand to consider the idea that just because you can make something, doesn’t mean you should. Disagree? Check these out first.

Kissing Phones

This morning it was brought to my attention that a design researcher at the Berlin University of the Arts has used “tactile telecommunication” to create a series of prototypes that incorporate touch into the phone experience. His inventions include phones that imitate the grasping sensation of holding hands, the whoosh of air that accompanies someone whispering in your ear, and even kissing. Read more here.

Now you might think that after lamenting the difficulties of long-distance relationships I would be into these, but you would be wrong. I cannot get over the weirdness of the concept of kissing a sponge that kisses back (an oversimplified version of what the prototype actually is. Plus I am extremely concerned that people might think it’s acceptable to go around smooching their phones in public. I still haven’t gotten over the social awkwardness of people using hands-free headsets, so I’m definitely not ready for this.

Carnivorous Lampshades

I think we all can agree that flies are pretty gross and we don’t want them in our houses. I can get behind the use of sticky paper and fly swatters, for sure. But I think lamps that eat flies and use their dead bodies as energy might be going a little too far on the weird spectrum.

The lamp, developed by Material Beliefs, looks more like a party fixture than a cold-blooded killer. But when flies are naturally attracted to its light, they enter through holes in the shade and aren’t able to escape. Flies don’t have a terribly long life span, so eventually they die and fall into the lamp’s microbial fuel cell, which gives it the power it needs for the series of LED lights at the bottom. Let’s all say it together: weeeeeiiiirrrrddddd.

Facebook Like Counter

This one isn’t quite as crazy of a technological feat, but it does say something weird about our society if there is a demand for this. The French design studio Smiirl created a Facebook like counter that connects over Wi-Fi to deliver a real-time count of how many people liked your post, photo, page, whatever. It’s like a counter that tells you how many people have been served at a business, but it incorporates our sad obsession with social media too.

The idea behind this is that businesses can show how popular they are by displaying their Facebook likes more prominently. Whether or not the number of likes is actually relevant to consumers’ perception is yet to be determined, but I shudder to think of a world in which that is the only metric by which people decide how to spend their money.