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June 5, 2004

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No! It's an instant message!

Posted 4 years, 4 months ago on June 5, 2004
Nokia has announced production of a celphone which allows you to project short text messages into the air via a series of LEDs.

The Nokia 3220 takes advantage of a known quirk of human vision, which causes us to see rapidly sequenced images as one whole image rather than as the individual parts. Thus when someone's 3220 blinks out H - E - L - L - 0 in sequence, you will instead see it as "HELLO".

Of course, you'll be seeing it suspended in mid-air, and it will be visible from as much as 20 or more feet away - with night distances of much more, according to Nokia.

This could bring a rather novel player to the spam table. If someone finds your celphone i.d., and sends you a text message unbidden, depending on the context and the content, it is, arguably, spam. But what if they aim that same text message at you through the air? What if they march up to your table, stand right in front of you,, legs akimbo, and put their Nokia 3220 right in your face, and text message your eyeballs? Is it spam then? (Bloody rude, yes, but is it spam?)

Intuitively, the answer is "no". But I'd imagine some clever people out there could think of some instances where it would not be so obviously so.

Can you?




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