Bring On The Hush-A-Phone!

We've all read about the studies being conducted on the airlines, that perhaps one day soon we will all be forced to sit cheek-by-jowl with people who will conduct loud conversations on their cell phones in mid-air, with no chance for escape. Isn't there some way to fend off this disaster? We need the Hush-a-Phone!

I first encountered the Hush-a-Phone in a 1940 novella by Robert Heinlein - The Roads Must Roll. I assumed that he had created the (rather catchy!) name. However, in researching the technovelgy article on the Hush-a-Phone, I found that there was a real-life Hush-a-Phone manufactured in 1921. The civilized goals of the device are summarized in the ad below:


(From Hush-a-Phone Advertisement)

The device itself was simple; it had no electronic components. A larger photo is shown below.


(From Hush-a-Phone Closeup)

More than 100,000 of these devices were sold. In his novel, Heinlein suggested some (1940's style) high-tech solutions; use a rubber mouthpiece for noise suppression on this end, and a bone conduction receiver.

What can we do with cell phone users in the modern era? In an article on The Society for HandHeld Hushing, one group suggests that you print small cards to hand to loud cell phone users. However, I was thinking about something a bit more proactive.

Sculptor Nick Normal has created a Portable Cellular Phone booth that is retractable; it is carried on your back and slides up and over your head to make your conversation private, just like it should be.


(From Portable Cellular Phone Booth)

Normal remarks:

"The Portable Cellular Phone Booth provides a visual image of social sacrifices and opportunities to interact with one another lost due to our own self -involvement...Historically the iconic phone booth represented a place where one could go to be alone for a private conversation. By delivering my sculpture to an unsuspecting public, anyone who notices the piece receives a myriad of messages from self deprecating humor to the neglecting of friendship in real time for the hope of something better.

Okay, so maybe the Portable Cellular Phone Booth is not the practical solution that we need. But somewhere out there, there's an engineer who can solve this problem. Preferably before I'm stuck on a coast-to-coast flight between an accountant and an insurance salesman.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/3/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 9 )

Related News Stories - (" Communication ")

Burner Generates Temporary Phone Numbers
'Interesting phone system he's got, by the way...' - John Varley, 1984.

HushMe Bluetooth Device Reinvents The Hush-A-Phone
'Talking into a hush-a-phone which he had plugged into the telephone jack...' - Robert Heinlein, 1940.

Ubiquiti FrontRow Camera Records Your Life
Why be choosy? Just upload your whole life to the Internet, and be done with it.

SmileCloud Bubloons Are Custom Clouds
'Spurgle kicked at the letter G... It was a monstrous white thing, ten feet thick, half a city block long...' - Alan Nelson, 1953.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

IBM's Grain Of Sand Computer
'Our ancestors... thought to make the very sand beneath their feet intelligent...'

Liquid Metal Shape-Changing 'Soft Robotics'
'A mimetic poly-alloy... 'What the hell does that mean?''

The Hammock Caravan And Italo Calvino's Octavia
'Now I will tell you how Octavia, the spider-web city, is made.'

Super-Resolution Microscopy Provides '4D' Views
View the magnified interior of living cells.

Have I Seen The Tesla Roadster Story Before?
'Only it wasn't a vessel. It was an automobile...'

Watch 'Do You Trust This Computer' For Free Today
Thanks for making this available, Elon.

Self-Driving Car Ticketed
This just missed making my day.

Elon Musk Tweets Versions Of Clarke's Operation Cleanup
'Fortunately, the old orbital forts were superbly equipped for this task.'

Burner Generates Temporary Phone Numbers
'Interesting phone system he's got, by the way...'

Walmart’s Autonomous Robot Bees
Everyone loves bees.

EA Created AI That Taught Itself To Play Battlefield
Harmless fun for computer scientists.

Is Teleportation A Death Sentence?
'A long trail of dead, he thought, left across the stars...'

New Brain Scanner Lets You Move Around
'In Bob Arctor's living room his thousand dollar custom-quality cephscope crafted by Altec...'

Can An Entire Brain Be Simulated In A Computer?
'The miles of relays and photocells had given way to the spongy globe of platinum iridium about the size of the human brain.'

Physicists Try To Turn Light Into Matter
If E=mc squared, then... m=E/c squared!

Save Your Brain's Connectome, Upload Yourself Elsewhere
'You've got remote storage. How regular is the update?'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.