Wizard researchers make iPhone disappear

Phone developers such as Apple are always seeking to make hardware features as discreet as possible, but now a team of researchers has jumped to the logical conclusion and made the phone disappear altogether.

While the team at the Hasso Platner Institute at Potsdam University has not binned the traditional smartphone communication approach in favour of telepathy just yet, researchers have developed an ingenious, if rather absurd, imaginary interface for smartphones.

At the moment the camera is head-mounted – though the team hopes to reduce it in size to something more practical.

What this means is that rather than the laborious process of retrieving a phone from one’s pocket, the user can just press a fictional button on a make believe interface using a camera system devised by the team.

As shown in video, below, the depth camera is able to pick up and track the movements of a finger over a palm, mimicking the way that iPhone users prod the touchscreen with their digits, before relaying it wirelessly to the phone.

However, as ingenious a system as it may be, whether carrying a camera around with you in the anticipation of an event where it makes more sense to stab at your palm rather than reach into your pocket and brandish your phone is unclear.

Furthermore, quite how much we would trust our own spatial memory to guide us in functioning a phone interface that we can’t even see is debatable, even if the developers seem to have more faith in us.

There are some potential uses for the technology. We thought it would be convenient for mid-headspin app-buying while breakdancing, or declining a call during a judo championship fight.

Imagine replying to a text while baking a Madeira cake, or setting an 8am wake-up call while tightrope walking.

Or, of course, messing around with connectivity settings in the early stages of a pub darts competition.