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Sloshing Cellphones Reveal Their Contents

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the because-you-can dept.

Cellphones 160

holy_calamity writes "UK researchers have developed software that represents a handset's battery life by using a phone's speaker and vibrator to make a device feel and sound like it contains liquid. You give it a shake to find out how much is left. The same technique can be used to represent new messages by simulating balls rattling around inside a box. It runs on recent Nokias with accelerometers; video from the researchers explains it well." What a bizarrely fun idea.

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that's just stupid (2, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504181)

Even the best battery "life" indicators I've ever seen mostly suck. If this one uses the dropoff in voltage as a detection device like every other one has for the last brazillion years, it'll basically be completely full for the life of the charge, and about 10 minutes before it tanks, if you're lucky, you'll get the joy of the sensation of a sloshing, albeit mostly empty sloshing, in your digital device.

Now, as for the detecting how many messages there are by simulating the sound of balls rattling around in a box, it's kind of cute, as long as they're not my balls. Again, though, if you already have the device out, why not put a little numeric in the display? Huh?

Re:that's just stupid (3, Interesting)

CheShACat (999169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504197)

All true, but you can't deny that this is a pretty cool tactile feedback mechanism! More of these great ideas please!

Re:that's just stupid (5, Interesting)

Steve Newall (24926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504359)

As a manufacturer of portable data terminals, we always seem to spend an excessive amount of time in attempting to get a better indication of the amount of power left in a battery. Each battery chemistry has it's own set of rules and the rules tend to change as the battery ages.

One of the better methods is to use a coulumb counter that attempts to measure the power put into a battery against the power removed from the battery. See http://www.linear.com/pc/productDetail.jsp?navId=H0,C1,C1003,C1037,C1134,P2354 [linear.com] for a typical device. Even using these, we only seem to be able to approach something that doesn't suck.

One of our devices has a tilt sensor, so I may try to impliment the sloshing sound as well as our normal battery icon on the display.

Re:that's just stupid (1, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504487)

Hmmmm, btw, I apologize for the tone... prolly teeing off after some bad karma with some others (recruiters, actually, sigh)... and am kicking the dog. Sorry... (but, this is, after all, slashdot).

That said, I appreciate you concede the difficulty of battery life measurement. I'd long since given up on paying too much attention to gauges, and instead pay more attention to keeping backup batteries for devices which have removeable ones (it actually is a large factor in my decision making process whether or not I can swap in a spare battery, proprietary or otherwise.)

Cheers. :-)

Re:that's just stupid (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505049)

### we always seem to spend an excessive amount of time in attempting to get a better indication of the amount of power left in a battery

How about throwing all the physics and chemistry out of the window and simply using good old statistics? In a lot of chases the device should now when the battery was charged, for how long it was charged and for how long it ran on that charge, just use that data to extrapolate how long it will last the next time you charge it.

Re:that's just stupid (1)

Random Destruction (866027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505231)

I'm not sure who is chasing these devices, or how a device could 'now' anything, but grammar nazi-isms aside, what the GP described is pretty much what you're talking about. They measure electricity in and electricity out, and make a guess as to the energy left based on that. The only difference to your approach is you ignore the rate at which the device is consuming energy, which would make it significantly less accurate.

Re:that's just stupid (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505349)

Not to mention that battery performance depends on temperature - a charge will support the device more in a warm climate than out in the cold

Re:that's just stupid (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505323)

right, that would work very well for batteries that are charged while in storage and then discharged completely at an almost constant rate then put back into charging/storage.

batteries in your typical portable hardware are not used like that. Users will rarely if ever discharge them completely because they want/need the device to be working at all times. Discharge rates and sometimes charge rates too vary depending on how the device is being used and so on.

colomb counting is a slightly better idea but you still run into the problems of efficiancy depending on discharge rate and lack of complete discharges causing error build up.

Re:that's just stupid (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505583)

The Psion Series 3 I owned a decade and a half ago had a great battery meter. It gave me a running total of the number of milliamp-hours I had used from the current set of batteries. Since the alkali cells I was using at the time gave me approximately 1.5 amp-hours, I knew a day or two before I needed to replace the batteries.

Re:that's just stupid (3, Interesting)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504411)

Even the best battery "life" indicators I've ever seen mostly suck. If this one uses the dropoff in voltage as a detection device like every other one has for the last brazillion years, it'll basically be completely full for the life of the charge, and about 10 minutes before it tanks, if you're lucky, you'll get the joy of the sensation of a sloshing, albeit mostly empty sloshing, in your digital device.


Don't hate the player, hate the game.

This implementation in-and-of-itself does not really signify any important breakthrough to me. Just a bunch of geeks who took a feature and put a software aspect to it for a unique function. However, this is the second cell-phone shakey [slashdot.org] article I've seen on Slashdot recently. So, what really matters to me is the meta-content here: adding an accelerometer to a cellphone opens up a lot of functionality on the mobile platform.

Re:that's just stupid (1)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504427)

I'm not familiar with Brazilian years... Do they measure them differently in the southern hemisphere?

Re:that's just stupid (4, Funny)

yagu (721525) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504543)

It's in reference to a joke I'd heard a while back...

In his early morning Iraq war briefing Bush's advisor said 2 Brazilian soldiers had died the day before. After a pause, Bush leaned over to Cheney and asked him, "How many zeros are in a brazillion?"

No political affiliation or skewering intended... just a funny joke.

Re:that's just stupid (-1, Offtopic)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504671)

OT here, but I had a co-worker put a print of this joke (complete with a picture of a befuddled looking bush) on the door to my shop.
I generally coat my shop in UF, XKCD, and Dilbert comics, so this was particularly out of place. Add to that I am careful to avoid political affiliations at work (they can be rather career limiting) and I was miffed about this rogue joke showing up.
I took it down (offending the co-worker), trying to explain that funny or not, it was not my humor, and thus was not on my door.
Anyone else have an idea how to handle that?
-nB

Re:that's just stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21504917)

How about the increasingly disused "relax" technique? Although I completely, utterly agree that it was stupid of your meat-headed co-worker to put that on your door, it's probably not going to singlehandedly label you as a poor choice for promotion. Also, you appear to have handled it fine, and it's very likely that your jackass comedy-impaired co-worker will get over this jilting (I'm sure it's not his first) in short order.

Breathe deeply, young man.

Re:that's just stupid (1)

fmobus (831767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504589)

why, yes, they start just after carnival and ends when the 13th salary is paid (usually by December, 20th)

Re:that's just stupid (2, Informative)

mach1980 (1114097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504539)

We use lithium-ion batteries that have a very flat voltage curve followed by a steep dropoff once the juice starts to drain. Our solution were to measure the current used by the device and integrate towards the mAh left.
It kinda works but as the batteries gets old it looses accuracy.

Go ahead and score this as off topic.

Re:that's just stupid (1)

Thangodin (177516) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504565)

And of course, the problem with this one is that all that sound and vibration drains the battery.

Re:that's just stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21504625)

Wrong. There's a *separate* battery to power the sloshing feature. Think CMOS.

Re:that's just stupid (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504729)

Yeah... and it's not like cell phone companies have to deal with enough repairing/replacing phones dropped in normal operation already (which normally doesn't require shaking or slinging the phone around), but they're asking users to actually shake the phones around to determine information about them... Neat... but I'm guessing they may say "Doh!" later...

Re:that's just stupid (2, Insightful)

halfabee (685633) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504763)

Not stupid, just different.

It's all about human interface. You may think it's dumb, but it may be just the thing that helps John Q. Public integrate a device into his lifestyle.

Remember that:
  1. Technology should serve people.
  2. People are corporeal, not virtual.
  3. "Average" is dumber than you think.

Re:that's just stupid (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505521)

One of our designers has a huge sign above his monitor that reads "The User Is *NOT* Like Me!" in big print. I think all engineering workstations should have this engraved alongside the screen.

Bat Summary Line (1)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504189)

It's not as if the cell phone's contents are in any way being divulged... but rather a qualitative indication of battery life.

Re:Stupid typist (0)

Algorithmnast (1105517) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504227)

Ok... that should've read "Bad Summary Line" as a title...

More proof that just previewing a post isn't enough. I have to be awake too!

Re:Stupid typist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21504395)

You've just made me realize I don't belong here. I read sarcasm where there was none intended :S

Re:Stupid typist (0, Offtopic)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504425)

It's also proof that Slashdot can drive one bats.

Toy (3, Interesting)

peipas (809350) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504229)

It sounds fun, but I don't understand how shaking a phone is functionally superior to simply looking at the screen to gauge battery life or messages. Not to mention shaking your expensive mobile device around may not be the smartest idea. Flying wiimotes, anyone?

Re:Toy (1)

CheShACat (999169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504271)

You could quite easily say "I don't get how putting 4 workspaces on a cube is functionally superior to just having a little display in my toolbar" yet compiz/beryl are incredibly popular, for some reason...

Re:Toy (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505147)

Its popular because it looks cool, not because its makes you more productive. It does have some advantages such as smoother edge-flipping, but the 3D cube really adds nothing.

Re:Toy (1)

CheShACat (999169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505379)

My point exactly. Shaking your phone isn't neccesaryl more productive, neither is removing the buttons from your phone [slashdot.org] , or any of thousands of other innovations that occur every year, but they are COOL. As CmdrTaco said in the summary "What a bizarrely fun idea".The example of a desktop cube adds a new perspective (quite literally!) and emotive involvement to the user experience which is valuable, if not as easily quantifiable as productivity.
Also, I would say that, while it may not initially be more productive, adding levels of interaction with technology beyond what we are used to is a fairly new science; it's potential to increase productivity has yet to be explored fully. In time, as we get more used to the varying ways in which we interact with our technology, it's more than reasonable to expect things like this to be refined to increase productivity as a whole.

Re:Toy (1)

CheShACat (999169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505409)

I might add to that that I didn't really use my extra workspaces much until they were on a cube - so in my case it really did add productivity straight off!

Re:Toy (4, Interesting)

Scutter (18425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504333)

It sounds fun, but I don't understand how shaking a phone is functionally superior to simply looking at the screen to gauge battery life or messages.

You're new here, aren't you?

Show me anything in the world that a geek won't want to tinker with and hack in odd ways. It's this kind of thing that will eventually lead to Star Trek tech. It takes a hundred or a thousand "useless little hacks" to filter out the one gem that will be the killer hack. And sometimes, you can take a piece of one useless hack and a piece of another useless hack and put them together to make something awesome.

Yes, this may not be the most useful modification in the world, but think of what it could lead to...

Re:Toy (4, Insightful)

enjo13 (444114) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504433)

It's incredibly useful really.

The battery indicator on your screen is passive. It just sits there (largely unnoticed) until your critically low on battery and then it beeps at you incessantly. By adding a physical element to the indicator you provide an ongoing battery status (in a very easy to understand metaphor no less) that is much more difficult to ignore.

It is a very similar concept to the gestures used to control the iPhone. The trend in computing right now is to create interfaces that much more closely mimic physical experience. This has proven to greatly increase our ability to interact in meaningful ways with our machines. This is just another example of that.

Really it wins on two points: 1) It's a useful piece of tech. and 2) it's an insanely cool hack.

Re:Toy (4, Insightful)

MrNemesis (587188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504669)

I have to wonder though, why bother with a physical interface at all?

The battery indicator on your screen is passive. It just sits there (largely unnoticed) until your critically low on battery and then it beeps at you incessantly. By adding a physical element to the indicator you provide an ongoing battery status (in a very easy to understand metaphor no less) that is much more difficult to ignore.

Very good point, but I'm not convinced I'd like to shake my phone to get an indication of power (not that the standard power meter is going anywhere I suppose) but I'd like a passive aural indicator - how about the phone altering the pitch of all of those poloyphonic ringtones as the charge diminishes? Normal ringtone for 100-30% charge, and then increase the pitch delta as charge drops from that. As soon as you get a call or a text, you can immediately hear something's "wrong" with your phone (consider the age-old comedy stalwharts of the broken alarm bell or the out of tune piano), and it'll have the useful side effect of actually improving a large percentage of ghastly ringtones ;)

Re:Toy (1)

cheater512 (783349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505191)

Arrgghhh!! My ears! :P

Re:Toy (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505557)

that is much more difficult to ignore.

Frankly, that's the problem I would have with this: I want to ignore my battery life most of the time. The only time I want to think about battery life is when it's just about to run out, and even then, I don't want some sort of a constant noise bugging me all the time.

I hate when cellphones/laptops beep incessantly when they're low on power. What if I know it's low on power and I just want to keep using it until it runs out? Do I need it to be beeping at me every 30 seconds? Most of the time, it's sufficient that I can glance at the battery indicator on the screen and know whether or not I should recharge it. Almost every device has something like that, and it's enough.

Re:Toy (2, Insightful)

Loke the Dog (1054294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504531)

But the problem is that we get more and more screens to look at all the time. Our eyes get all the input, but that means the rest of our senses are just sitting around, basically, which is a waste.

Its the same with aircraft controls, that have been debated for many years. There are many advantages to making them all electronic, but the problem is that electronics tend to only give information to the user through lights and sounds. Mechanical operation on the other hand gives feel to the controls, which gives the pilot further information.

Its basically a good thing if designers stop every now and then and ponder "hey, is this information really best delivered through a screen or a sound, or would it be more convenient with shake or vibration". Obviously, this has already happened for cellphones many years ago, but it can be taken much further.

The real revolution comes when we start wearing gloves that through electrical impulses tickle in hundreds of different ways, but are easily recognized by the brain since it was designed to read input from the hands. Or keyboards that sting a little when you make a possible typo, or mouses that basically allows webpages to have "surfaces" that feel different when you hover over them... The possibilities are endless.

Re:Toy (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504959)

or mouses that basically allows webpages to have "surfaces" that feel different when you hover over them... The possibilities are endless.
Yes, blinking flash ads that literally grab you.

Re:Toy (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505641)

But the problem is that we get more and more screens to look at all the time. Our eyes get all the input, but that means the rest of our senses are just sitting around, basically, which is a waste.

Exactly. Use the other senses for a change. Where are all the smell and taste interfaces? When I'm on the NYC subway, I want to taste how close I am to the next stop. Actually, though, now that I think of it, the subway does seem to give a lot of information by smell.

It's "Blind"ingly Obvious (5, Interesting)

EgoWumpus (638704) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504981)

I have to imagine that any blind user of a cell phone would think this is awesome. No longer do you have to wade through some exchange with a computer to figure out if you have messages; you just shake your cell phone. And figuring out your charge without any need for visual interaction must be useful, too.

Additionally, though, I don't think there is all that much problem with shaking solid-state electronics. The 'Wiimote syndrome' isn't at issue, because you're not trying to control cartoon characters on the screen - and shaking a rattle, say, is a far more sedate activity than swinging a hammer. Unless you're way, way hyper-aggressive.

Re:Toy (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505661)

These guys came and gave a seminar at my university a while back. Most of their ideas left me with that feeling. They were cool demoes, but were more about the shiny than about useful feedback. Most of their ideas seemed to give you less information and require more user interaction than existing systems.

The battery charging problem was solved a long time ago by the iPod. Don't give good battery level feedback, give the user a reason to plug the device in other than just charging. My 3G iPod came with a dock, which plugged into my HiFi. When I got in, I dropped the device in the dock and it played through my speakers. I never once though about charging it, I just thought about listening to music and the charging happened automatically.

Needs more cowbell... (0, Offtopic)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504259)

Needs more cowbell...!

Re:Needs more cowbell... (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505255)

Wow... I must read Slashdot too much. For a second there, I thought you typed "Need more Cowboyneal!" I don't think *any* of us really want THAT on our cellphones!

Also (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21504263)

Also, getting sloshed while on your cell phone will better allow you to divulge your contents to anyone unlucky enough to be in your address book.

Re:Also (1, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504521)

Also, getting sloshed while on your cell phone will better allow you to divulge your contents to anyone unlucky enough to be in your address book.

Yeah, that's fun. I have a buddy who tends to call his ex-girlfriend whenever he gets tanked. It got to the point where I had to take his cellphone from him before we hit the bars.

Re:Also (1)

ari_j (90255) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504723)

It has long been my belief that the next new feature on cell phones should be a breath alcohol measurement device. The phone should allow you to set a maximum BAC per contact, so that you can't call your mother if you're over .08, can't call your girlfriend if you're over .15, and can't call anyone but your lawyer if you hit .30.

A cellphone without an accelerometer... (5, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504307)

Is like a cow without an altimeter.

Re:A cellphone without an accelerometer... (2, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504381)

How else are you gonna know when the cow's about to hit the ground, huh?

Re:A cellphone without an accelerometer... (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504465)

Umm, just look down?

Re:A cellphone without an accelerometer... (4, Funny)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504985)

That answer is only valid if you are located higher than the cow's current position. If the cow was, for example, just catapulted from a fortress by french knights [youtube.com] , and you were standing in the range of the catapult, you'd better look up.

However, if the cow would have an altimeter coupled to a wifi server, you could read out it's height independent of your own position so you wouldn't need to decide whether you should look up or down.

Re:A cellphone without an accelerometer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21504915)

Heh. That would be why Nokia are starting to add them to their new phones like the N95 and 5500 then? It's not like they use a lot of power or take up much space, and you can do a lot of interesting stuff with them.
For example, how do you think the iPhone auto-screen orientation works? They have an accelerometer inside it and monitor the output with a fairly simple algorithm.

Re:A cellphone without an accelerometer... (1)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505117)

Nokia had added accelerometers to their phones while the iPhone was a glint in Steve's eye. Another totally cool feature of the accelerometer on the N95? The Wellness Diary, which lets you track and graph weight, etc, and step count - you can keep the phone in your pocket and have it function as a pedometer, all tied into the system with calorie tracking, etc, based on your weight as tracked on a daily basis, etc.

re: cool uses for accelerometers in phones (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505461)

Actually, some of the 3rd. party "unauthorized" apps for hacked iPhones make really clever use of the accelerometer.

The most recent one was an electronic level. It draws the little bubble level on the phone's display, and the bubble moves just like a real level, indicating the phone sitting level when the bubble is between the 2 lines. It works pretty well, and given the shape of the iPhone (not likely to be attached to some sort of belt clip or holster that prevents it from lying flat on a surface), it's a practical application for it too.

I also saw someone's experimental pedometer application. Not sure it's perfectly accurate, but seems to make a pretty good attempt at counting your steps as you walk or jog. (Yeah, Nokia did this first - but it's just worth noting they're doing it for iPhones now too.)

The little drawing applet for iPhones someone wrote is funny too. If you shake the phone, it erases the current drawing, sort of like an etch-a-sketch tablet.

I agree that shaking one's phone is probably not such a "practical" or "more efficient" way of working with it. It's done more for the "cute" or "cool" factor of it. But I like some of the other things the accelerometers make possible, like the iPhone's automatic screen orientation change when it sense you flipped it sideways.

Apostrophe abuse in summary (5, Funny)

operagost (62405) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504325)

Nokia's
An apostrophe does not mean, "Look out! Here comes an S!"

Re:Apostrophe abuse in summary (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21504441)

pi'shpo'sh! it mo'st certainly doe's.

Re:Apostrophe abuse in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21504799)

Obviously the correct form is Nokiat.

Re:Apostrophe abuse in summary (4, Funny)

wfWebber (715881) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505041)

Nope. An apostrophe usually means, "Look out! Here come the grammar nazis"

Re:Apostrophe abuse in summary (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21505351)

Don't you mean grammar nazi's?

Re:Apostrophe abuse in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21505421)

It usually means, this post was written by a non-native English speaker, mixing up their grammar with the English grammar.
If I had mod points, I'd have modded you down.

Terror Alert! (5, Funny)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504353)

I think this is a good idea -- harnessing already honed human perceptions and using them to relieve some of the bandwidth hogging our visual senses are subjected to. It could be quite intuitive, and save valuable screen real estate.

On the other hand, I guess it means we can't take our mobile phones on airplanes anymore, can we?

Homeland Security Agent: "How much liquid is in that phone?"

You: "None. It's virtual liquid."

Homeland Security Agent: "It sounds like at least a few ounces."

You: "Virtual liquids have neither volume nor weight."

Homeland Security Agent: "Do I look stupid to you?"

You: "Can I take the fifth on that?"

Homeland Security Agent: "That's Mistake Number Two, bub. Quoting from documents concerning the governance or liberties of American citizens is suspicious activity Level Blue. Ever heard of Ron Paul?"

You: "Uh, sure."

Homeland Security Agent: "You're under arrest."

Re:Terror Alert! (0, Offtopic)

CoolGopher (142933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504593)

If I had mod points that wouldn't be "Funny", that'd be "Sad but True".
Well, if I had modpoints and more flexibility in classification of comments.

Re:Terror Alert! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21504705)

visual senses
You mean "eyes"? How many visual senses do you have?

Re:Terror Alert! (1)

CheeseburgerBrown (553703) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504941)

The eyes are a mechanical part of the apparatus, yes, but the actual imaging goes on in the brain. A pair of eyes without neuronal processing of the inputs is about as useful for vision as a pair of fuzzy tennis balls.

Re:Terror Alert! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21505107)

You mean "eyes"?

The preferred term is "orbs of sight" [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Terror Alert! (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505515)

you have two large clusters of light sensing cells each inside an aiming and focusing unit and each backed up by a lot of neurological processing.

Pretty amazing really.

I wonder (4, Insightful)

DeeQ (1194763) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504365)

How much faster the battery runs out with this feature. Its always annoyed me that my phone beeps every min when the battery becomes low. I thought the idea was when the phone starts to run out of power to conserve it to make it last long enough till you could charge it next. Considering how much faster my phone dies with the sound on and beep compaired to when I have the sound off and low bat, i wonder how much juice it takes to shake the thing to check the bat level.

Why the shaking? (1)

Gigiya (1022729) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504403)

I understand frustration with cellphones, but why is it that every new method of doing something with them seems like it's going to involve shaking them? [slashdot.org]

Re:Why the shaking? (0, Offtopic)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504555)

People have been doing that for ages with babies, that's why.

Re:Why the shaking? (1)

Mishotaki (957104) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505257)

Cuz we all know that mens like to shake... their... thing... and the objects they find or presents they get, off course.

Re:Why the shaking? (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505481)

No kidding, I worked for a phone manufacturer and in the late 90's a corporation (cheap auto repair) ordered tens of thousands of GSM phones for their staff, the thing is they asked the ring "melody" to be forced to their ad jingle. Within a month, half of them had been returned. Most of them were a bag of totally smashed plastic and parts (think "will it blend?") (sometimes even partially incinerated) with "oops, it felt off my pocket" or other mundane excuse as the problem description. So don't tell me of shaking a cellphone out of frustration.

Re:Why the shaking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21505503)

You don't have to shake it. If you watch the video, you can wag your hips like a male prostitute when you walk and it will work too.

Re:Why the shaking? (1)

drewski3420 (969623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505607)

Because it works so well for Babies [google.com]

Balls (1)

Shadyman (939863) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504407)

"The same technique can be used to represent new messages by simulating balls rattling around inside a box."

I can't wait for this. I'll shake my cell phone, and someone will ask me WTF I'm doing. I'll proudly be able to proclaim, "My cell phone has balls!"

That's all well and good. (1)

TheDreadSlashdotterD (966361) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504423)

Does it make phone calls?

Ironic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21504453)

that it would use the speaker and vibrator, which drain the battery, to indicate battery life.

A solution to....? (2, Insightful)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504475)

I love cool little gimmicky inventions like this.
Unfortunately, it seems to be a solution that was applied to a problem that didn't need solving.

Now, perhaps if they linked the sloshing behavior to the amount of milk left in the carton as reported via my networked refrigerator, they'd have me interested.

Verizon... (1)

BadEvilYoda (935532) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504503)

... will surely find a way to either a) cripple something like this or b) charge for it. Or worse, do their standard bass-ackwards job of crippling it, like they manage to do with every other firmware and interface they "design" (and I use that term loosely) so it's constantly sloshing and having balls bounce around inside of it.

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21504549)

"simulating balls rattling around inside a box"

That line makes me laugh for some reason. I know, I know. Immature Slashdotter, blah, blah, blah...

Juice (2, Funny)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504617)

I guess this puts a new spin on the colloquialism of how much "juice" is left in a battery.

Great Idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21504623)

When I'm concerned the battery's low, I'll be SO glad that checking it takes more power than before... Rather than peaking at an LCD number, it'll use more power making sound and vibrating! And it will make more noise than it ever did before - silence really gives me the creeps.

Progress, isn't it great!

Battery life (2, Insightful)

zokier (1049754) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504637)

This would kill battery life of a device, cellphones are already at only few days of usage. Lets just add a gimmicky effect that needs more battery. 'Oh how much do I have battery left? *shake* None, anymore anyways...'

peoples' eyes reveal their content (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21504649)

no gadgets required. nor does one need to shake/rattle them to find out what's inside. just look in their eyes

Battery life isn't important for me: thanks USB (2, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504651)

Thanks to the mini-USB connector on my phone, battery life is completely not important to me. In the car, I charge my phone. At work or at a client's, I plug it into a laptop or PC. If I am desperate, I have a little USB hand crank that can power my phone for 20 minutes with about 3 minutes of cranking.

When cell phones had proprietary connectors that changed with each new model, battery life was maybe #3 on my list of important features. Now I don't even think of it. I can not recall a day in the past year when I had less than 60% battery life (even with WiFi and Bluetooth enabled on my HTC Trinity).

Is it really a big deal for a lot of people? Where are you that you can't plug in, even if just for 10-15 minutes to top off your battery?

Re:Battery life isn't important for me: thanks USB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21505109)

Hmmm... a hand crank cell phone charger, that sounds very useful. I just went and researched getting one for my phone because I had not thought about that possibility.

Usually cell phone charge is not a problem because, like most portable devices, I charge it every night and I usually use it far less than talk time on a charge. On the other hand, I have had multiple occasions where I was on a long train/bus trip and wanted to talk on the phone but couldn't because my phone only gets about 2 hours of talk time, and I needed my phone working in case I needed to call whoever I was meeting at my destination. In those situations, having to crank while talking would not be an inconvenience at all.

(posting anon because I already moderated)

Re:Battery life isn't important for me: thanks USB (1)

Nephrite (82592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505287)

And I thought "mobile" means "which may move around", and not "being tethered to a power outlet"

Re:Battery life isn't important for me: thanks USB (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505647)

Fortunately, the new Li-Ion batteries handle that quite OK, with older tech, you would have ruined your battery within a year by partially reloading it that often.

Patent? (1)

Traa (158207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504681)

Sorry, didn't RTFA, but did they patent this cute idea? It sounds like fun, something that I might want on my cellphone even. Willing to pay for it, but as a developer for a large cellphone component maker I could probably create this application myself. If the idea is patented, and from what I have heard from patent lawyers this sounds rather patentable, it would prevent a quick and widespread adoption. The biggest problem is that though the idea is innovative, it is hardly remarkable. It falls into the category of "we thought of it first", rather then "we spend a huge budget on research to come up with this innovation for which we need some exclusive time in the market to recoup our cost and make a reasonable profit".

Couple of musings... (2, Funny)

stoofa (524247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504719)

How much battery power is consumed in producing the sloshing noise to tell me how much battery power is left? And if you have unread messages while checking the battery power will you get balls sloshing around in the liquid? And would the smaller messages float?

Cool, but how about accurate battery life? (2, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504801)

While this is very cool, it does bring up a pet peeve of mine: why can't devices show accurate battery life?

Currently, all battery charge indicators are wildly nonlinear and grossly inaccurate.

To be more specific. Conceptually, imagine a device that holds three small batteries instead of one large one, and drains them in succession one after the other. The battery life measurement on each battery would be somewhat imprecise, but when you'd exhausted the first battery you'd know that you really had 2/3 of the charge left; when you'd exhausted the second, you'd know that you really had 1/3 left.

Alternatively, how about a device that holds two smaller batteries and double-buffers them; that is, draws from one battery until it's exhausted, then draws from the second while allowing you to replace the first?

Re:Cool, but how about accurate battery life? (1)

Avohir (889832) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505493)

the issue as I understand it is that batteries hold less charge over time, and the rate at which they decay varies per the type of battery, and isn't something that can be easily predicted.

In your example, the batteries would be worn unevenly. Say you drain it halfway before charging it, the third battery would be used the least, because it would only supply power if the phone was below 30%, so now after a year of use, the third battery holds more, and your 1/3 indicator is off

Re:Cool, but how about accurate battery life? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505599)

Conceptually, imagine a device that holds three small batteries instead of one large one, and drains them in succession one after the other. The battery life measurement on each battery would be somewhat imprecise, but when you'd exhausted the first battery you'd know that you really had 2/3 of the charge left; when you'd exhausted the second, you'd know that you really had 1/3 left.
Indeed but then you have to allow for that fact that higher discharge rates tend to mean lower efficiancies and also allow for the losses in the switchover system.

I strongly suspect that the decrease in efficiancy would not be considered worth the increase in display accuracy.

I'm not buying my Mum one of these... (3, Funny)

Hanners1979 (959741) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504803)

I can just see her filling her mobile phone full of water when 'the liquid has run out'.

Ha! I love it! (3, Interesting)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504833)

Most of our computer humor comes from people trying to apply inappropriate models to understanding the way computers work, thinking they're like cars or household appliances. I've had people ask me if computers need tune-ups, belts changed, etc. And us techs can be dicks about it, too. "Yeah, you dropped that CD and now all the bits shifted to one side. It's going to be unbalanced, like a washing machine. So what you need to do is shake the CD until all the bits get evenly distributed."

Shaking the battery to hear how "full" it is, it's an intuitive approach for someone who knows nothing about technology and makes the geeks laugh, but here they go and make it work. Very, very funny. But this is the sort of thinking that helps make the toys easier to use. More power to 'em.

Cellphone Breathalizer that sloshes (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21504875)

Can we get a cellphone + breathalyser combo that makes sloshing sounds if you try to talk drunk?

Even better if it's part of your OnStar(TM) system, it can shut off your ignition and call a cab for you.

Why not do two things at once? (3, Insightful)

andrewbaldwin (442273) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505039)

Add in small magnets + coils (or reverse run the accelerometer if it's suitable) and charge the phone from the shaking?

It's not as if the Slashdot crowd have atrophied wrist muscles after all :-) [runs for cover]

doesn't the vibrator use a lot of battery? (1)

Crazyswedishguy (1020008) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505071)

This thing is awesome: after shaking my phone and causing the vibrator to work for 10 minutes, I know my battery's depleted!

Shaking (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505161)

Now why couldn't they get the shaking to CHARGE the battery? After all they can do that with flashlights.

Neat for the blind (5, Interesting)

lantastik (877247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505279)

My sister-in-law is legally blind and she is always asking how much battery life is left on her phone and how many messages she has. From an accessibility perspective, I think it's a pretty neat idea. Otherwise, it's a useless feature.

more people in theaters jerking their (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 6 years ago | (#21505553)

Just what we need, more people in movie theaters jerking their phones around with the sound of balls rolling around.

LoB

mod 0p (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21505683)

be 4 lot 5lower [goat.cx]

But but but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21505685)

...using the accelerometers and the vibrator to get a reading on battery life ends up reducing the battery life each time you shake that phone. Kinda like Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. So you're going to be walking around with a huge dilemma of whether to find out how much battery is left, or to shut the heck up and not make it even worse.
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