A British man has built the ultimate smartphone dock: his left arm.
Trevor Prideaux was born with only one arm and had previously had the inconvenience that using a cellphone (other than on speaker) meant he didn’t have a hand free during a call. But advances in technology brought new problems: now that he uses touchscreen smartphones, he’s struggled to find a way round either having to lean the device on his prosthetic arm or find a flat surface whenever he wants to use the phone’s non-calling functions.
*Video removed by request.
Whereas most of us just upgrade a phone every few years, Prideaux also has new prosthetics made at regular intervals. When looking at an iPhone he realised that building it into a false arm could solve his problems. However, an appeal to Apple for a dummy phone casing to try out his idea proved unsuccessful.
Instead Prideaux later decided to upgrade to a Nokia C7 and found the company was willing to help out. He then went to the Exeter Mobility Centre, which manufactures his limbs, where staff made a fiber cast of the phone and then built the “dock” directly into the limb. The phone sits safely in place but can easily be removed if needed.
Prideaux is now able to easily use the touchscreen and can also simply lift his prosthetic arm to his head to make voice calls. He hopes the idea can be developed to help other people with prosthetics, particularly those who lose limbs later in life and have already become used to operating phones with both hands.
The current version of the dock is purely for holding the phone in place. However, with recent advances in the conversion of kinetic energy, it’s not completely inconceivable that one day — probably in many years’ time — such a dock could also provide at least some of the power for the phone.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Prideaux has made the headlines. He’s also the organizer of the Turnip Prize, an “art competition” that spoofs the Tate Gallery’s controversial Turner Prize for modern art. The Turnip Prize is based largely around puns, with poor quality and a lack of effort also contributory factors.