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Phone

For people without internet access, telephone-based services can still be an invaluable tool for things like finding jobs. Unfortunately, many poor and illiterate citizens of Pakistan simply don’t know how to use such services. In an effort to introduce them to the concepts involved, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Pakistan's Lahore University have launched a “silly phone game” known as Polly. Read More
When there's a natural disaster or bad storm, power outages are almost guaranteed. This can be an annoyance during a minor storm, but during a more serious disaster, a lack of power can mean not being able to get in touch with friends, loved ones, and in the worst of situations, help. The SOSCharger is designed to combat this by allowing users to keep their phone charged with a simple hand crank. Read More
Payphones may seem like yesterday’s technology, but they aren’t quite dead yet ... at least not in New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced semi-finalists in a competition designed to drag payphone infrastructure into the 21st century – the "Reinvent Payphones" Design Challenge. Read More
With just about everyone carrying and using a smartphone throughout their workday, the desk phone is starting to look like it could fade into obsolescence. For some things, however, the form factor of a good ol’ landline is still preferable. French tech firm invoxia has attempted to blend the benefits of smartphones and desktops, with its New AudiOffice phone. Read More
Many of today's telecomms users find that their conversational needs are more than satisfied by smartphones, yet most still have a home phone connected to a landline. The latter has received something of a modern make-over at the hands of UrbanHello, a new startup founded in Paris, France by Hervé Artus and Catherine Seys. The appropriately-named Home Phone has simultaneously launched at CES 2013 and on Kickstarter. Read More

Like Android 4.0’s Face Unlock feature that unlocks a device when it recognizes the user’s face, Lenovo has made unlocking a hands-free affair, but by using a slightly different approach. The Speaker Verification technology, that makes its debut in the Lenovo Ideaphone A586 smartphone, lets a user unlock their device by speaking a passphrase. Read More

If you’re the parent of a child with food allergies, you know how terrifying they can be. Such allergies can be life threatening and, despite food labeling laws, it isn't always possible to be certain some potentially deadly ingredient isn't lurking in an item. In an effort to improve on the bulky and complex allergen detectors currently available, researchers from the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a device called the iTube that turns a smartphone into an allergen sensor. Read More

Being away from home doesn’t mean you have to neglect your pet. Thanks to the internet, you can play with them remotely and now you can feed them remotely, too. Pintofeed, Inc of Pasadena, California has developed a wireless pet feeder that you can control from your iOS or Android smartphone, so Fido or Mr. Tibbles never has to miss a meal. Read More

Identity theft is a constant concern in the digital age, and the inclusion of RFID chips in just about everything from cell phones to passports unfortunately opens up another avenue for would-be thieves to lift your data. The only way to really know you were secure would be to block all wireless frequencies from reaching your IDs and gadgets. ThinkGeek's solution is the Blokket, a small pouch designed to hold mobile devices or RFID-chipped IDs and block them from receiving any incoming wireless signals. Read More

Modern-day smartphones like those produced by Apple and Samsung have put a bunch of cool features into our pockets, turning the mere portable telephone into a computer, personal organizer, games console, and more besides. OwnFone, however, takes the opposite approach, offering an inexpensive, easy to use handset stripped down to the bare essentials. Read More
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