Company announces phone based on crowdsourced feature requests: eye-tracking and a sticky case

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Eye tracking falls apart in all kinds of situations. I played around with an eye tracking project in school and it only really worked well when sitting directly in front of the camera in a decently lit room.

I think the accelerometer is grossly underused as an interface mechanism.


Are there plans to make it modular while they’re at it, with a refillable snake oil pod?


Well it sounds like a terrible idea, but they did poll possible users in the most scientific anonymous internet kind of way. I wonder how many of the votes for eye-tracking were from well-meaning liberals saying, “Well not everybody has hands, you know!”

On the other hand, sticky sounds useful. It sounds like they’re thinking of adhesive, which would be a nightmare of a mess. I wonder if they considered Velcro? Would a magnet work?

I feel like the gaze tracking stuff in general is just a desperate attempt to try and wring more futurity out of mature commodity interface technology. The things I want to look at are basically discrete from the things I want to manipulate, and that division of labor is manifested by, ya know, having hands.

In general I feel that way, to a lesser extent, about voice interfaces. It’s fun to play with Alexa and see that the recognition technology is no longer a crapshoot, but I think I’m not alone in finding that once you use up all the scripted answers to existential questions, it’s mostly a tool for setting timers and turning on the radio, because forming the hairball search strings and scanning pages of itemized information that constitutes actually getting work done on the internet is a poor fit for having a conversation.

How many poor little geckos will be sacrificed to make that sticky backing?

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What’s wrong with today’s crowds?

If I had a crowd, it would certainly have asked for:

  • Display that doesn’t shatter if it fell 3 feet to the asphalt
  • Survives exposure to water, maybe even a brief dunking
  • Doesn’t appear covered with fingerprints within five minutes of cleaning the glass
  • Doesn’t happily share my whereabouts and contact list with every freaking app maker as the default
  • Would make an extremely annoying buzzing sound if my cat takes a nap on it

Yeah, I was thinking of magnets too. Most locations where I - at least - would want to use a phone hands-free have some amount of ferrous metal somewhere - the fridge in the kitchen, cubicle wall, etc. In the car might be a problem though.

Something adhesive sounds like Homer’s car meets cellphone.


Design by committee is a scary thing.

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