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Ambient Life: Calm and Excited Pulsation as a Means of Life-like Permanent Tactile Status Display in Mobile Phones

Fabian Hemmert , Gesche Joost

In this paper we present Ambient Life, a novel notification system for mobile phones. It is based on a cognitive mechanism that humans are inherently good at: the perception of life. The proposed system employs basic life-like movements, like breath and pulse, to display the state of a mobile phone. The phone can either be “calm” (representing no missed calls, SMS or similar) or “excited” (representing missed events, requiring attention). Two prototypes and a user study are presented. The outcomes of the study are mixed; while most users generally liked the idea of a living phone and were able to determine changes in the pulse frequency almost instantly, the acceptance of the new functionality depended strongly on the situation the phone was used in.


perception of life, mobile phones, tactile notification