LONDON Researchers at the University of Glasgow have demonstrated an interface that allows mobile phone users to check if the power is low or whether there are unopened messages by simply shaking the device.
Dubbed the "Shoogle" the system uses a phone's speaker and vibrator to make a device feel and sound as if it contains liquid when it is running out of power.
To represent number of messages in a phone's inbox, Shoogle which takes its name from a Scottish-English word meaning to shake models the movement of the equivalent number of balls, as if anchored by a spring inside a box.
The technology is being developed by John Williamson of the Department of Computing Science at the University, with colleagues Rod Murray-Smith and Stephen Hughes.
A phone running the software knows when it is being shaken by using accelerometers to sense the handset's movement. The software has so far been tested on a PDA with accelerometers attached and on Nokia phones with the devices built in.
The researchers suggest that with an ever increasing number of phones coming on the market with accelerometers embedded, other ideas that make use them will be developed. They say Nokia has already released a programming kit to help people develop software to use the accelerometers in their phones, making applications easier to develop.
A video showing the Shoogle in use can be seen here