Bring On The Hush-A-Phone!
We've all read about the studies being conducted on the airlines, that perhaps one day soon we will all be forced to sit cheek-by-jowl with people who will conduct loud conversations on their cell phones in mid-air, with no chance for escape. Isn't there some way to fend off this disaster? We need the Hush-a-Phone!
I first encountered the Hush-a-Phone in a 1940 novella by Robert Heinlein - The Roads Must Roll. I assumed that he had created the (rather catchy!) name. However, in researching the technovelgy article on the Hush-a-Phone, I found that there was a real-life Hush-a-Phone manufactured in 1921. The civilized goals of the device are summarized in the ad below:
(From Hush-a-Phone Advertisement)
The device itself was simple; it had no electronic components. A larger photo is shown below.
(From Hush-a-Phone Closeup)
More than 100,000 of these devices were sold. In his novel, Heinlein suggested some (1940's style) high-tech solutions; use a rubber mouthpiece for noise suppression on this end, and a bone conduction receiver.
What can we do with cell phone users in the modern era? In an article on The Society for HandHeld Hushing, one group suggests that you print small cards to hand to loud cell phone users. However, I was thinking about something a bit more proactive.
Sculptor Nick Normal has created a Portable Cellular Phone booth that is retractable; it is carried on your back and slides up and over your head to make your conversation private, just like it should be.
(From Portable Cellular Phone Booth)
"The Portable Cellular Phone Booth provides a visual image of social sacrifices and opportunities to interact with one another lost due to our own self -involvement...Historically the iconic phone booth represented a place where one could go to be alone for a private conversation. By delivering my sculpture to an unsuspecting public, anyone who notices the piece receives a myriad of messages from self deprecating humor to the neglecting of friendship in real time for the hope of something better.
Okay, so maybe the Portable Cellular Phone Booth is not the practical solution that we need. But somewhere out there, there's an engineer who can solve this problem. Preferably before I'm stuck on a coast-to-coast flight between an accountant and an insurance salesman.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/3/2005)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 9 )
Related News Stories -
Douglas Adams Your Babel Fish Is Ready - The Pilot By Waverly
'You'll need to have this fish in your ear.' - Douglas Adams, 1979.
Cortana Clip - The New In-Ear Wearables
'And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight...' - Ray Bradbury, 1953.
FlexEnable OLED Bracelet SmartPhone Concept
'The tiny screen in the bracelet's center...' - Roger Zelazny, 1980.
The 'Internet Of Touch' For Telemedicine
'Immediately an enormous apparatus fell on to her out of the ceiling...' - EM Forster, 1909.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Brick By Brick, Building Martian Bases
Don't try to boost everything from the surface of the Earth.
SpotMini Robot Pierson's Puppeteer-Style
Now they're kind of cute, right?
Elon Musk et. al. OpenAI Household Robot
'Any work a human being does around a house.'
BRUISE Smart Injury Detection Suit
'... Bee could see that three of them were disabled and two of them damaged.'
Tesla Model S Is Also A Boat (Sort Of)
'This Dick Dare contraption of yours...'
Promobot, The Runaway Russian Robot!
'Got yourself a runaway, Jack?'
Rowbot Small Autonomous Farm Robot
'...The tiny red glints of self-guided tractors.'
Amazon's Alexa To Recognize Emotions
Oh, Hal understood their emotions, all right.
Cool 'Single-Person Spaceships' Have Better SF Name
'A cabin so small, you couldn't stand up with the air lock closed..'
First Robot Suicide Has Science Fiction Roots
'What had happened to prevent my death?'
First US Clinical Trial For Wearable Artificial Kidney
'Wholly mechanical organs...'
Open Bionics To Produce Deus Ex Prosthetic Designs
Be a part of a science fictional future.
Human-Carrying Drone Taxi 184 Approved For Test Flights
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble...'
Skating On Mars' Frozen Pools
'They went down, put on their skates, and started.'
Google Working On A 'Cutoff Switch' For AI
'A remote control, so you can pull the plug on Hal whenever you want to.'
Vi Artificially Intelligent Personal Trainer
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories