T-Mobile Sues Huawei Over Button Pushing Robot Idea From The 1930's

T-Mobile claims that in 2007 it was the first to debut a robot to test cellphone handsets “by performing touches on the phone the same way a human being would - only much more frequently in a shorter period of time.” It is suing Chinese telecom giant Huawei for stealing its software.

Tapster is a robotic device to automate testing mobile applications on smartphones. It simulates the touch of a human finger on capacitave touchscreen devices of all kinds.

(Tapster demo video)

In a lawsuit filed Sept. 2 in federal court in Seattle, T-Mobile says employees of the world’s third-largest mobile-phone supplier illicitly photographed the device, tried to smuggle components out of T-Mobile’s Bellevue lab, and — when banned from the facility — tried to sneak back in.

Huawei, which is no longer a T-Mobile phone supplier, utilized the information to build its own testing robot, and now is “using T-Mobile’s stolen robot technology to test non-T-Mobile handsets and improve return rates for handsets developed and sold to other carriers,” says the suit.

A Huawei spokesman acknowledged some inappropriate actions by two company employees and said they’d been fired. Huawei rejects the broader claims in the suit, however.

In their 1931 story The Revolt of the Machines, the writing duo of Nat Schachner and A.L. Zagat describe a master machine that stands ready to take over the keyboards in a control center for an entire civilization by tapping the keys as needed.

The chief wheeled to the master machine and pressed a button. Instantly, the hundreds of dangling arms telescoped out, each to a button bank where a moment before a prolat had labored. And, with a weird simulation of life, the ten forked ends of each arm commenced a rattling pressing of the buttons. Rapidly, purposefully, the metallic fingers moved over the key-boards, and on the screens we could see that the machines all over the world were continuing on their even course. Not the slightest change in their working betrayed the fact that they were now being directed by a machine instead of human beings.

Via Seattle Times.

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