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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 1 April, 2003, 10:46 GMT 11:46 UK
Shock tactics for anti-social mobile use
Man playing prototype mobile phone
Musical mobile makes people look stupid in public
Anti-social mobile phone users could be punished with an electric shock if prototypes from a design company go into production.

The increasing irritation of inappropriate or noisy conversations in public places prompted design firm Ideo to come up with handsets that would encourage people to be more tactful in their phone use.

The designs are not intended to make it on to the high street but rather to prompt debate about the social impact of mobile phones.

Designs include a phone with two metal plates attached that could send an increasing electric shock to people at the other end depending on how loudly the caller is talking.

Trumpet phone

The catapult phone allows users to aim their own handsets at someone in the vicinity and at the press of a button will launch a sound to disrupt their conversation.

"They are intended to stimulate discussion about whether these phones are any more ridiculous than what we put up with every day," Chief Designer Graham Pullin told the BBC's Go Digital programme.

A prototype mobile phone
A polite phone answers for you
Perhaps the most extreme design is a mobile phone in the shape of a musical instrument.

"It looks like a snake that has swallowed a mobile phone," explained Mr Pullin.

In order to make a call users have to stand up and play a rather gruesome tune on their musical phone.

"It seems inconceivable that someone would stand up and play it in the middle of a crowded restaurant so it is a good litmus test about where it is appropriate to make a call," he said.

For those that do take account of other people when making a mobile call, the designers came up with a quiet phone that allows users to have a silent conversation.

Instead of speaking, people simply press a button to reply with an automated 'yes' or 'no' to the person on the other end of the phone.

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