Thinking a bit more on this idea that a mobile is more effective and personal when the physical state of the device can be altered, I had this thought that I tweeted but wanted to expand further:
Wonder: is there tech that makes the ink on my SkinIt skin change based on radio wave changes (i.e., text comes in skin changes color)?
The starting point is a mobile device that has only one color. The user has had it for a number of months/years and now wants a change. Cases aren’t good enough and so they go with the option of purchasing a skin via a company like SkinIt. These can be gotten in stock images or user customizable designs. But, what if there was a third category, the “adaptive” skin?
The adaptive skin would essentially be the same skin, but have a layer that changes color and/or texture based on a certain frequency of radio wave coming in contact with the device.
Why would this be useful?
Let’s go back to that same user. This person isn’t ready to purchase a new device, but is commonly in a place where their mobile can be out but must be silent. Having a blinking LED might be good, but has proven battery draining and distracting in a negative connotation.
This skin would change some or all of it’s color based on an increased frequency of data coming to/from the device. In this way, the person can see at a glance that a message or call has come in, or even feel over a part of the device that is gesture enabled to auto-ignore/respond with a message (the Moto Citrus has a touchpad on it’s rear that could facilitate this).
The idea of changing color is one thing, but I also wonder if there are smaller differences in frequency that could ignite a change in that skin textures (calls versus texts versus emails). So you go from this rubbery like base feeling to something more like scales or something slippery. At that point, but touch, a person would be able to feel the communicative event happening to their environment. Imagine more that this happens so that you can sense the air/environment quality of an unfamiliar area before the ozone/smog/acid rain warnings are sent via SMS.
This idea has also been published for wider thought and discussion at the Ideas Project website.
Image from: Gizmo Watch