5 things you never thought you’d do with your mobile phone

And you thought your mobile phone was just for monitoring your heart rate or paying for a Starbucks latte?


Think again – here are five things you probably never
thought you’d do with your phone.


Go swimming with it.  I can’t keep track of the
number of friends who repeatedly manage to get their phones wet and then
frantically try to resuscitate them with the nearest hairdryer. They’re the
perfect candidates for Casio’s new android smartphone which apparently can
withstand conditions inhospitable enough to make even an SAS commando cry.
These include dropping the phone 26 times from a height of 4 feet, unbearably
high and low temperatures, 95% humidity for 24 hours, and even dust storms.
Mashable decided to test out the 30 minutes under 3 feet of water” claim and
even went one step further by ruthlessly using a jacuzzi to do it.
Impressively, the phone still worked afterwards.


Wave at it.  True, it’s still early days for
using gesture-recognition technology in
mobile devices (which might appeal to budding Jamie Olivers halfway through a
messy recipe). But Microsoft’s purchase of gesture-recognition company Canesta,
and its chip-level pattern recognition, could result in a smaller
Kinect-type product that fits into a handset
, such as the Windows
Phone, so that you would be able to control your phone with gestures
and hopefully won’t look as though you’re practicing tai chi.


Run a space satellite.  The Surrey Space Centre in
the UK is planning to launch a Google Nexus 1 phone into space on a
satellite to see how well a smartphone’s miniaturized components will perform
in space: these include complex sensors for running Google Maps, devices called
accelerometers that allow users to play electronic games, powerful computing
chips and long-lasting batteries.  If all goes well, mobile phone
components could become the building blocks for cut-price satellites. According to Chris Bridges, a
scientist at the Surrey Space Centre
, the mobile phone industry has
spent billions on miniaturizing components: we want to see if these could be
used in satellites. Instead of spending a fortune on custom-built components
for probes, we could use off-the-shelf devices.”


Grow better crops.  The microfinance organization, the Grameen Foundation is
leasing smartphones to local farmers in Uganda so that they can receive
valuable information – weather reports, planting advice, disease diagnostics,
market prices – and pass it on to their neighbors. Grameen also gathers
information from the farmers and passes it on to agricultural organizations and
food programs. Right now, it’s text-based information, but the plan is to move
to images and video to counter the widespread illiteracy. The farmers involved
in the scheme receive a performance-based wage, reduced leasing costs for the
phone, and high-performing farmers can expect to fully own their phone after
two years. The absence of readily available electricity means that phones are
powered by rather ingenious methods – one farmer charges his battery by
connecting it to his bicycle.


Long-distance babysitting.  Protective parents can
now keep a watchful eye on their offspring, even while they’re traveling on the
other side of the world: Evoz has taken
baby monitoring systems to new levels and not only captures crying and sleep
data to create a personalized, remote online parenting experience that can send
alerts (call, text, or email) whenever your baby starts crying, but also
compares a child’s patterns to other babies their age.


By the way, (apart from my father), how many people do
you know who still use their mobile phone just for texting and talking?


By Naomi Weiser, editor, Amdocs Voices Blog

[email protected]