This project is the result of a year long research project lead by Clara Gaggero of Vitamins Design in collaboration with the Helen Hamlyn Center RCA and RIM, the designers and makers of the BlackBerry.The project looked at ways to mimic real-life interruptions, making smartphone alerts richer, more personal and less binary.
Concepts are built around a new type of digital protocol supported by two designs. The first, SmartCall, uses software and services to enrich voice calls with a deeper level of information. It communicates the reason for the call, the urgency and the time frame for response rather than just using a ringtone or vibration to notify. This information is attached as a short message to the call that will appear on the phone screen.
The second idea, SkinDisplay, makes the interaction with the phone more discrete and subtle, by allowing the receiver to read the SmartCall information without having to look at the phone.The receiver will read the information, magically, just by touching the device. A raised message will appear on the back of the phone, containing the caller’s identity, importance and reason for the call. This short message will be transferred through pressure: the receiver will just need to press the phone between their fingers and the message will be imprinted on their hand.The receiver will then be able to read the message on their skin and also erase it, easily, by rubbing their fingers together. Taken together, these ideas suggest ways of communicating digitally that are more closely based on face-to-face communication etiquette and on the complexities of human behaviour.