October 27, 2011 by Grant Clauser
Science and science fiction have a way of coming together in the consumer electronics world. Apple’s new Siri feature, which lets you give voice commands to the iPhone 4S is a pretty snazzy example, but this next one is just as cool and much more functional. He had a smart phone dock built into his artificial arm.
Trevor Prideaux, a man in Somerset , England, who was born without one arm, had been struggling with his smart phone for years, especially when it came to texting. According to a story in The Telegraph, he first went to Apple for help, but that notoriously impenetrable company ignored him. A couple years later the idea resurfaced and he brought it to Nokia who agreed to help.
The actual prosthetic was built at the the Exeter Mobility Centre. It includes a dock for the Nokia C7 smart phone which rests on the inside of the limb’s forearm. In this position he can easily text or take calls. It’s removable so he can place it in speaker docks or hold it in his other hand during calls.
The Nokia C7 runs on the Symbian OS and includes Facebook, Twitter, Mobile TV, an 8MP camera (which is covered when docked in the limb), and GPS.
The Telegraph article doesn’t mention whether or not the arm dock also charges the phone.
One drawback is that the prosthetic basically locks you into one smart phone design, and I’m sure that upgrading a limb cost a lot more than upgrading a smart phone.
No, this does not make him a borg, but it looks pretty cool nonetheless. I applaud the ingenuity of both Prideaux, Nokia and the designers at the Exeter Mobility Centre. I’m sure this project gave all of the ideas for other enhancements. Imagine incorporating Siri-style voice control or automation into such a system.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.
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