Trans-Iberian

Trans-Iberian

Covering everything from the major news of the week and burning social issues, to expat living and la vida local, EL PAÍS’ team of English-language bloggers offers its opinions, observations and analysis on Spain and beyond.

PerhApps, perhApps, perhApps

Por: | 04 de marzo de 2014

Ear recognition and wrist-worn devices are just two of the eight potential developments in the cellphone market identified in Javier Martín’s article in El País last week about Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress. There are, however, eight other innovative functions and applications that it would be nice to see by the time the city hosts the event in exactly twelve months time, from 2-5 March, 2015. The following list is intended for the benefit of everyone, whether you love or hate, are addicted to or irritated by, your essential communication companion. Of course, as research and development is always top secret, the legitimacy of the information cannot be guaranteed:

InvisiBar This is a service whereby high-tech voice recognition doesn’t permit the user to make a call if he or she is drunk. Market testing suggests that the application has already saved several relationships and prevented hundreds of calls to ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends. A ‘mildly tipsy’ state can be detected, which allows the call to proceed and has the additional attraction of eliminating background noise such as music, social conversation and the clinking of glasses. Auto-correction is carried out for comments like ‘Hi darling. I’m lust jeaving the office, it’s been a dong lay.’

KittyKill Let’s face it, just about everyone is addicted to circulating photos and videos of their cute cat or kitten. Enough is enough, so this proposed facility would automatically delete any message with that content, ideally when the originator presses the 'upload' or 'send' button. Exemptions are being considered if your feline friend can really achieve something unusual, such as unicycling along a curtain rail or playing a ukulele. EP_Phone_crop_Loeil_etranger
"Oh no! Not another cute kitty!"  Photo flickr (CC): L'oeil étranger

2dull Even though your friends and family may not realise it, information about many of their daily activities are often of no interest to you whatsoever – ‘I’m having a cup of coffee’ and ‘Have arrived at the office’ being two prime examples. The 2dull function identifies a pointless message and eliminates it, making sure it never reaches you at all. It would also rule out the worst culprit, ‘What are you doing?’, which craftily feigns interest in you but, in fact, only originates because the sender is completely bored.

Dead-SeeScrolling An option that should be included on all models to assist in breaking the habit of users scrolling their cellphones solely for want of something better to do. If that situation is identified, the function prompts the cellphone to automatically emit, very loudly, the first four lines of ‘Help’ by The Beatles. Embarrassing for the user, but hugely entertaining for everyone else, especially fellow passengers on public transport.

Coooo!!! Still very much in the development phase, this idea incorporates genes from homing pigeons. As a cellphone owner, a small transmitter would be implanted under a your skin, and activate a homing signal automatically if you stray too far from your device. After the activation, the cellphone picks up the signal, sprouts wings, and flies after you. EP_phone_bird

Coooo!!! An early prototype?

Voice-Over Amazing new developments could give sensitive electrodes in a cellphone the potential to identify if using the device is causing anger, irritation and discomfort to people within earshot. Detection would result in a call being cut off automatically, for example if the user is speaking loudly in public places. Call termination is particularly quick if a conversation veers towards the medical history or recent surgical operations of the user’s family.

MoleculArrive May not be available in the near future, but this teleportation application (think ‘Star Trek’) involves setting coordinates that will actually allow your cellphone to ‘beam’ you from point A to point B. Designated as a ‘wearable’ because at present the amount of power required means that the batteries have to be concealed under a hat the size of a large sofa.

U.R.ME The pièce de résistance for cellphone designers. Your cellphone carries out a life analysis by accessing your phone conversations, messages and diary. It will then answer your calls, accept or decline invitations, and organise your entire existence, telling you when to wake up, get dressed, visit the bathroom, eat, work, party or sleep. The cellphone must be plugged in to the back of your head at all times. However, unresolved teething troubles in the testing process have included low batteries, which have resulted in the users having breakfast at nine o’clock at night, bedwetting, and going out naked.

Only time will tell if any of the above come to fruition, but remember that today’s science fiction is tomorrow’s science fact, and for cellphone technology, there’s always a gApp in the market.

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Authors (Bloggers)

Chris Finnigan is a freelance journalist based in Barcelona. He writes for Barcelona Metropolitan and is a book reviewer and reader for The Barcelona Review. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics. You can find him on twitter @chrisjfinnigan

Ben Cardew is a freelance journalist, translator and teacher, now resident in Barcelona after growing up gracefully in Scotland via Norwich. He writes for The Guardian, the NME and The Quietus, among others, on everything from music to digital media. You can find him on Twitter @bencardew

Fiona Flores Watson is a freelance journalist, guide and translator who has lived in Seville since 2003, and has been a writer and editor for more than 20 years. She writes for the Guardian, Telegraph and Sunday Times Travel Magazine. Originally from Essex, Fiona is also Consulting Editor of Andalucia.com and has her own blog, Scribbler in Seville. She has been contributing to Trans-Iberian since 2014 and tweets at @Seville_Writer

Jeff Brodsky is a freelance writer. He arrived in Barcelona in 2013 via an admittedly indirect route, living in Chicago, Arizona, Seville, Amsterdam, North Carolina and Madrid. Despite not having stepped foot in Seville for over five years, he still speaks Spanish with an Andalusian accent. Jeff’s writing has been published in newspapers and magazines in America and Europe.

Koren Helbig is an Australian freelance journalist and blogger enjoying a life of near-eternal sunshine in Alicante. She writes for publications in Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, focusing on stories exploring smart and positive approaches to social issues. She hangs out on Twitter at @KorenHelbig and keeps a selection of her favourite stories at korenhelbig.com.

Julie Pybus lives in a small off-grid house on a hillside in Catalunya. She usually focuses on helping charities and social enterprises with their publications and websites, but has also written for The Guardian, Country Living and The Observer. Julie launched and runs a hyperlocal website which endeavors to increase understanding between the different nationalities in her area perelloplus.com. @JuliePybus

Paul Louis Archer is a freelance photographer, multimedia storyteller and artist educator. A cross-disciplinary worker, who endeavors to encompass the mediums of photography, audio design and writing. Born in Hertfordshire of an English father and Spanish mother. Based in the United Kingdom. @PaulLouisArcher

Vicki McLeod is a freelance writer and photographer. She has lived in Mallorca since 2004. Vicki writes about her beloved island for The Majorca Daily Bulletin, the only daily English language paper in Spain; produces regular columns for the Euro Weekly News, and articles for Spain-Holiday.com. Vicki runs PR strategies for several businesses in Mallorca and London as well as working on her own blogs and projects. She and her husband, Oliver Neilson, supply photo and text content for private clients via @phoenixmediamlr. She tweets at @mcleod_vicki.

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne and based in Barcelona, Alx Phillips writes about contemporary art, dance and theatre in a way that human beings can understand. For more previews, reviews, interviews and extras, check: www.lookingfordrama.com.

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