Handsfree Landline

Sadly not much innovation has come about in landline phones, which is why the Wavelength comes as a breath of fresh air. Basically the phone does away with ‘any external receiver or headset to transmit and receive sound.’ What this means is that you talk totally handsfree without the fear of eavesdropping and multitask like taking notes or chop some vegetables!

How it Works

As a substitute ‘Wavelength’ uses a directional (parametric array) speakers and a directional (parabolic) microphone to transmit and receive audio. This allows the user to engage in a completely private conversation through this device without having to hold or wear anything, making tasks like writing a note on a piece of paper or typing on the computer while on a call easier. During a conversation ‘Wavelength’ (with the help of a camera and rangefinder) will track the users face. A two axis pivot allows ‘Wavelength’ to aim the speaker and microphone accordingly. A detachable display and number pad can magnetically dock to the front of the device for charging. In addition the user can choose to activate the speaker and microphone on the detachable remote, if they wish to use the remote as a traditional cordless phone.

Designer: Daniel Fitzgerald

    15 Comments

    • shiverbrains says:

      I love the idea of using a parabolic speaker in a phone but there are a few problems….

      1. Parabolic speakers need to be at least 55 feet across to reproduce the human sound spectrum… any smaller and you start to exponentially lose clarity, range and volume. At this size they would be virtually useless. Oh and they MUST BE PARABOLIC CURVES. Where did you get flat hexagonal panels?

      2. This looks like a steampunk roomba vomiting an iphone. Why is it so big?! I would make it sleeker, wayyyy smaller and more cohesive.

      3. Someone owns the patent on parabolic speakers, you can’t just use that idea.

    • Rawwhale says:

      Actually, it’s “parametric array” speakers, like the ones used in ultrasound machines and underwater depth finders. A single speaker costs about $4000 and has the same audio quality as a pair of very cheap headphones. They also don’t work closer than 4 feet, the speakers automatically switch off to prevent painful screeching distortion for the listener (Google the Sennheiser Audiobeam). The only practical use for parametric arrays are as sonic weapons since they are designed for extremely high-pitched sounds.

      Who still has a landline? Seems to me this is like designing a $5000 wireless VHS player… which looks like a waffle iron.

    • Daniel says:

      I genuinely appreciate your critical analysis of my concept as it is the most valuable thing gained from this whole design exercise. As it will be a benefit for in the future so that I know what I need to address when I revisit this again to develop the next iteration of concept. And I get to learn from any errors I have made.

      In response to your questions:

      Q 1 As stated by Rawwhale, this concept uses parametric array speakers, not the parabolic speakers that is a different technology altogether.

      Q 2 Functionality was the priority of this design. So consideration was given to how the device will operate in its environment. For example in an office environment it became obvious that the design would be prone to a lot of knocks and bumps as well as objects jamming the components. So the shape of the design was tailored to prevent this happening. Aesthetics are important, but often did not take priority over functionality. As for the size, it was determined by the components.

      Q 3 Once again as stated by Rawwhale, this concept uses parametric array speakers, not the parabolic speakers that you mentioned in your question.

      Current price for a parametric speaker they are relatively expensive ($100 – $1500), which is to be expected of anything that is not manufactured in any real significant numbers. It is a technology that is now becoming clearer and cheaper to manufacture. (Worth typing ‘Parametric Sound Corporation’ into google for examples).

    • Rawwhale says:

      Hey Daniel, great to know my comments are heard!

      Just wanted to point out that Shiverbrains was probably referring to the parabolic microphone you mentioned. That would still require a very large parabolic curve, 55 feet for perfect quality and drastically losing quality as it shrinks. Most commercial parabolic mics are 3-4 feet across. A simple “shotgun” directional microphone will do the same job for wayyy cheaper and with much higher quality.

      As for the parametric speakers, the real issue is time and quality.
      1. By the time this technology is less expensive than a small car landlines will have completely disappeared, rendering the concept kind of useless.
      2. Parametric speakers have simply awful quality and painful screeching distortion if used incorrectly, they couldn’t properly reproduce a very low speaking voice and will always sound tinny and weak. That is the real reason they aren’t widely manufactured.

      I think you should reconsider this design as a parabolic based cell phone speaker system. You could rest a phone inside a passive parabolic curve and create a focused sound bubble with basically the same user experience for under $10!

    • Shiverbrains says:

      Sorry Rawwhale, already exists! Haha

      http://www.clingo.com/home-and-office/parabolic-sound-sphere

      I would suggest designing a more powerful version of that clingo sphere with some mics and a speaker array to boost volume and clarity. It would be cheaper, energy-saving (passive amplification) and could be produced tomorrow! It’s almost a completely new product but achieves the same experience.

    • Daniel says:

      This is great feedback. Gives me a lot to consider when I get the time to develop this design. You guys seem to have a finger on the pulse of this specific area of technology. I will be sure to credit your suggested ideas, hopefully when I have the free time to work up a refined concept of this design.

    • wonderful insight. Really enjoyed skimming through this blog.

      Keep up the good work and to everyone keep on learning!

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