Polar: A Mobile Phone Concept by Yuta Watanabe
This is one of those concept pieces where I just think ah-ha! Why did I not think of this first? The idea is quite simple: it’s a phone for cold climates which means it’s designed to be used with thick winter gloves. I really have nothing more to say about this design because it’s such a simple concept, and it is pretty crazy that cold climate citizens have had to suffer for so long. I really hope this concept becomes a reality. I guess the next steps for the designers are to consider what these climatically, and potentially culturally designed phones could lead to. I’ve recently heard of super simple phones designed specifically for old people in mind. What would a phone for someone in the Saharan desert might look like? I would imagine sand infiltration and elemental abuse might come to mind.
I’m reminded for some reason of a completely tangential story where my friend in the peace corps told me she had taken a couple of village girls she worked with into a city in the country of Mauritania. They had rented a hotel for the night. A few minutes after they got in the room, she heard screams from the girls who were in the bathroom. The girls had found the toilet which they had never seen before. They flushed the toilet and suddenly water ran down the drain terrifying them. How do you design cell phones for people that have never even seen a toilet? The easy answer is you don’t, but the more complex answer is what means of communication could better serve a village in their situation if any.