Creepy Voodoo Doll Could Be Your Next-Gen Cell Phone

Talking on the phone can be a rather impersonal pursuit, which is why a group of Japanese researchers decided to invent one of the creepiest cell phones ever. This fetus-like gadget is known as Elfoid, and it is meant to convey human presence over the phone.

Researchers at the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International originally created a larger version of the phone called Telenoid. The Telenoid featured actuators that allowed the face and limbs of the vaguely human form to move around to mimic a specific person’s mannerisms.

The Elfoid is a pocket-sized iteration that is meant to replace cell phones at some point in the future. It would convey callers’ facial expressions through a motion capture system. Although right now it can’t move its face and limbs, in the future it will contain micro-actuators to let it display human emotions and expressions.

The whole thing seems monumentally creepy, but the designers do have a point: the cell phones we use today tend to cut out the human element of our conversations. The featureless design of the phone is meant to act as a blank slate that can represent callers of any age or gender.

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See more in Phones & Mobile or under Gadgets. March, 2011.