The SmartCall interface, top and the tactile SkinDisplay, pictured bottom.
Clara Gaggero of Vitamins Design in collaboration with the Helen Hamlyn Centre at the Royal College of Art and RIM, the designers and makers of the BlackBerry, has been investigating some very cool ways to mimic real-life interruptions, making smartphone alerts richer, more personal and less binary.
Two particular examples include a software service called the SmartCall and a tactile form of communication called the SkinDisplay.
SmartCall aims to enrich voice calls with a deeper level of information by visually communicating the reason for the call and urgency instead of just a ring tone or a vibration. What will be fascinating to see is how phone etiquette will start to change if this polite interruption will expand onto other network operators and how willing people will be to input their reason for the call.
SkinDisplay on the other hand is an even more discrete and intimate way of communicating that allows the receiver to read the SmartCall information without having to look at their phone. By touching the phone between their fingers, the receiver will be able to read the message as an imprint on their skin and erase it easily by rubbing their fingers together. This alternative phone etiquette will offer new opportunities for people to be even more creative with their messages perhaps trying to design the most elaborate works of art.