This mobile phone prototype employs an automatically movable weight on its inside. It explores the utility of moving weight as a tactile display in mobile phones.
Through a moving center of gravity, a mobile device can display content physically enriched: Through the positioning of mass. For example, drag and drop operations can be physically supported through a synchronized movement of the device’s center of gravity, following the dragged object.
Non-visual information displays can be helpful in certain situations, but they are often limited in their bandwidth and the way they map digital information to physical properties. A two-dimensional weight-based display can represent two layers of hierarchy, ambiently: For instance, a meta-layer of making progress through a playlist can be displayed in parallel with a display of a the playhead’s position on the layer of individual songs.
An actuated center of weight in a mobile device may be particularly helpful in mobile navigation: It could display walking directions intuitively and non-visually, allowing users to navigate safely while not looking at the device, but simply holding it in one hand.