Introduction: HandiPhone Conceptual Phone Design

About: Hello. I'm a freelance designer who makes a lot of different things for fun.

This is not a step-by-step Instructable, but a concept for the #RethinkPhone contest, which challenges participants to "imagine new possibilities for phones" and to "recontextualize what a phone could be."


I thought about the challenges of using modern cell phones, and the limitations of current wearables like the Apple iWatch. My project attempts to solve some challenges of the user experience:

  1. While on the go, it can be cumbersome to use a phone. If you are holding an umbrella or a coffee cup, for example, it's awkward to pull the phone out of your pocket and record some information, or tap on a notification, or make a phone call.
  2. Wearables are not great at input (other than voice dictation, there is no text input on the iWatch).
  3. Bluetooth headsets are unfashionable.
  4. Distraction/eyestrain/spine issues. Whether it's a wearable or a phone display, staring at screens is a health and safety issue. I replaced the two-handed, visual interface with a one-handed, gestural interface, many common phone functions can be accomplished.


My solution is a glove with embedded sensors and interfaces, designed to be used single-handedly. The following Instructable will outline my design for the "HandiPhone".

In reality, this would be a blue-tooth enabled device that would sync with your existing phone rather than replace it.

Step 1: Design: Inputs/Outputs

This is the basic design of the HandiPhone. External UI is in blue/yellow. Internal components in white. External, integrated computer stuff in grey.

I will explain its basic functions in the rest of this Instructable.

Note: This glove interfaces with your phone via BlueTooth and its operations can be customized, so the functions explained hereafter are stock examples.

Step 2: Phone Calls / Dictation / Private Listening

"Call Me!" (fig 1)

With the speaker and microphone on the thumb webbing and pinky, you have the ideal position for making a phone call. Since the glove detects your hand position, opening your hand to this "Call Me" gesture automatically answers or initiates a phone call. To prevent accidental hangups, you must click the knuckle button to hang up.

Private Listening / Muted Phone calls (fig 2)

To listen without recording your voice, or to simply mute your end of the conversation, raise your thumb to your earwithout the pinky). This second gesture could be used for narrating incoming text messages or voice mails.

Activation Buttons (knuckle buttons) (fig 3)

The thumb knuckle is easy to tap with your index finger and is not a regular point of contact. Therefore it is an ideal location for an activation button. Click it to trigger a text-message or double-click to start writing a note, for example.

Use example: Click the activation button and raise your pinky to start taking dictation.

(You just tried touching your thumb knuckle, didn't you?)

Step 3: Text Input: Hand Writing

A method for inputting text privately is essential. Not every situation is ideal for voice dictation (the bus, the library or another public space). Using a touch sensor at the end of your index finger, you can write naturally, touching any surface to virtually write a note.

Step 4: Such Display. Many Potential. Much Wow.

A simple display rests on the back of your hand. This least-flexible surface of your hand is ideal for a display and can be read easily as you write. Since a touch-screen is not necessary and the HandiPhone isn't designed for heavy app use, a passive display would extend battery life.

The combination of gesture-reading sensors in your hand combined with microphone, speaker and computer, offer users limitless potential for single-handedly controlling their phones. What can you imagine doing with the HandiPhone?

Step 5: Thank You!

Thank you for reading about my #RethinkPhone concept!

If you liked it, please vote for me!

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