Old dog, new tricks

Even as we advance further and further into a world ruled by technology, we can’t seem to break some of our traditional habits.

How many times have you caught yourself nodding, gesturing, or using any other body language when you’re talking to someone on the phone?  They can’t see you, so why do we still do it?  There may be some technology in the works to solve that problem.  Check out this article that was on Fast Company – We Talk With Body Language.  So Should Our Cellphones.

Have you ever had one of the moments when you’re telling your friend a story over the phone, and when you pause for a response, all you get is dead air? “Hello?” you say.  “I’m here,” your friend replies.  “I was nodding my head in agreement.”  So now you both feel like morons because you, as the story-teller, didn’t think your friend was actually paying attention, while your friend feels silly because she was performing an action you couldn’t see.

Beyond the concept of video-phones and video chats, the idea Mr. Raskin talks about is pretty genius.  At least with vibrations for nodding and shaking your head, you could get somewhat of an idea what the person on the other end of the line is doing as he listens to you speak.  Besides, not all people are able to pick up on changes in the tone and timbre of someone’s voice, they can’t tell when you’re smiling, or angry.  I’ve been told that people can tell when I’m smiling when I answer the phone, but not everyone could recognize that.

Could this also be applied in situations where someone was blind and having a conversation with someone in person? The speaker could have something that is connected to the blind person’s cell phone, and when the speaker nods, shakes their head, or gestures in some other way, the phone would vibrate in a specific pattern.

I’m really interested to see how this all manifests in the future.  How about you?


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