The sleeper bowl: using meatspace as an interface |

The sleeper bowl: using meatspace as an interface

By Filip Salomonsson; published on January 11, 2008. Tags: phones rfid

Hey, imagine your phone had a built-in RFID reader. Further, imagine you could associate an RFID tag with whatever action you want in the phone.

Now imagine you had a whole bunch of RFID tags you could put just about anywhere. When the phones comes near one of the tags, it fires whatever actions you have associated with that tag.

By putting tags in strategic places, you could associate physical locations - places in meatspace - with modes or recurring actions. A kind of hotspots, if you will. (Although coldspots might be more appropriate for some cases.)

Now imagine the applications.

A tag on or underneath your bed-side table tells the phone to accept calls only from close friends and family, and to set the alarm for 07:00. If you remove the phone from the hotspot at 06:45, you obviously don't need the alarm, so it's automatically cancelled.

A tag on your desk at work tells the phone you're working. No private calls, please, and go into silent mode while you're at it.

A tag on your desk at home says now is a great time to connect to your computer via bluetooth to sync photos, podcasts, contacts, calendar events, etc.

A tag in your (hand)bag (or classy man purse, for my metrosexual readers) cranks the ringtone volume way up. A tag sewn into your coat pocket does the same.

You could tag a little bowl - I'd call it a sleeper bowl and sell it for $25 - in which your phone stays absolutely quiet. Incoming calls go to your voice mail; incoming text messages silently stored for later. No ringing, no vibrating, no lights going on, just sleep. When you pick up the phone again, it wakes up to tell you what went on while it was sleeping.

(The sleeper bowl would also be a lovely way to deny an incoming call. When your mother-in-law calls, just throw the phone in the bowl. Then exhale. That's about as tactile as it gets.)

Etcetera. Ad lib. Whatnot.


Nokia has been working on RFID-enabled phones for a while. The 6131 NFC is one. NFC, you ask? Near Field Communication.

If you're into RFID and NFC, you should probably keep an eye on Timo Arnall. His address book desk is a concrete example of the above.