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Drawing phones


I think I’m mostly going to post drawings from my sketchbooks, and talk around those for a while. Since a lot of my thinking starts like this. My sketchbooks are also places where I put ideas that would be too difficult to make, so they just get drawn instead.

I think phones mostly used to look like this:

Old phone drawing

Now they don’t. During our work for Nokia and my time at the RCA, I developed groups of ideas around phones and how their functionality influences their form. The ideas follow a continuing enthusiasm for celebration of function, something that continues to influence the work Matt and I do.

Drawing of phone 01

The first is a sketch of a phone dock that distributes all the things I use in the phone into discrete physical instances locally. Pretty self descriptive really, a receipt printer pushes out text messages as they arrive. To make a call, stamp out the number, or add a name card from the Rolodex, then pull down on the indicator lever, the end blinks while it rings and snaps back when the phone returns to idle or someone answers.

Mechanical phone

This phone explores the keypad unlock function. As it opens from its locked down position, the screen opens like a flower and all the buttons turn over like little Porsche* headlamps. Locked down, it is completely flush and faceless, no risk of pocket dialling, but fragile, mechanical and slim when open.

*(is it Porsche or am I revising history?)

Extra hand set

Hands free sets feel quite unsatisfying. Wouldn’t it be better if your phone came with an extra hand? This phone comes with a small robot arm (plugged into your data port), to hold your tea, or mangle paper clips while you are listening to your voice mail. Definitely needs to be more exploration of robot arms in the future.

2 Comments and Trackbacks

  • 1. Chris Mungbean said on 7 October 2006...

    Hey Jack, great to see you sharing your planet-sized thoughts (and especially your sketches) with the blog-o-wosname! Let’s have more of that please.

    I got a buzz from seeing the availabots in DWB. Come back and visit us soon… you won’t recognise the old place (especially the million quid’s worth of new windows that look exactly like the old ones they ripped out).

    Hope things are good for you an all that. Take California!


  • 2. Ben Kraal said on 9 October 2006...

    The Porsche headlamps you are (probably) thinking of are from the 928 and 968. Though those lie face up, looking skywards, and then tilt through 90 degrees to face forwards.

    Cars with true flip-over headlamps are (IIRC) the last series of Corvette’s with pop-up lamps, the C4-series and the Jaguar XJ220 supercar. Various big American cars had upright flip-over lamps that were integrated into a vertical grille rather than down in the bonnet/hood. One that springs to mind in the Dodge Charger, like the Dukes of Hazzard’s car.

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