New technology heats up cell phones when callers get agitated

I can’t think of too many use cases for this, but they did it: A team of researchers from the University of Tokyo (Japan’s MIT if you will) has developed a technology that makes it possible to “physically” convey emotions from cell phone to cell phone. The key elements of the technology are a sensor and a Peltier device that’s attached to the back of the phones.

When you start sweating and become emotionally agitated during a phone call, a sensor built into your cell phone detects changes in the electrical resistance of the skin of your hand (which holds the handset). This data is sent to the handset of the person you are currently talking with, along with the usual phone signal. Then, a Peltier device attached to the back of the handset of that person starts heating up, making him or her really understand you are angry, excited or surprised.

The researchers say there’s a time lag of just two seconds to convey the change in emotion. The Peltier device is able to heat up to 9C above room temperature, but it can also cool down to 3.6C below room temperature. In that case, you know the person you are talking with is either emotionally neutral or getting calmer again.

My apologies for the silly picture – there were no official pictures available.

Via The Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]