A Cure for Nomophobia: PipSqueak
Nomophobia, the fear of being without a mobile phone, can cause gut-wrenching anxiety. In the case of Doron Nissan, it inspired the invention of PipSqueak, a small Bluetooth device that provides a clever solution to missed calls and lost phones.
"I watched my wife leave for the grocery store to buy one gallon of milk ... Halfway down the road, she realized she'd left her cell phone behind," Nissan told TechNewsDaily. "She turned around and came back rather than being without it for less than 30 minutes."
He also grew frustrated by calls from the kids asking him to set up their after-school playdates when he had no idea who to call. Why call Dad?
"Because we can't reach mom!" they said.
Focus groups revealed a number of problems that resonated with both men and women, he said. Not enough time to dig a phone out of a purse? Missed call. Phone is out of reach on a bench while playing tennis? Missed call. Conversely, participants complained about mad dashes to answer phones only to find the calls were not important.
Nissan came up with a solution. He spoke with a friend, Jim Randall, who made a call to former Palm CEO, Donna Dubinsky. She loved the concept and put the two in touch with a product design firm. Three years and several product interations later, the team unveiled PipSqueak at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The PipSqueak is a small Bluetooth device that provides a convenient, clever solution to missed calls: more time. Its built-in alert won't let you leave your phone behind. Here's how it works:
Like an Apple Shuffle, the 1.25-inch square device securely clips onto a purse strap or pocket. Through its wireless Bluetooth connection with your phone, the PipSqueak vibrates, lights up and can be set to audible when an incoming call is detected. On the hidden screen, you'll see "Incoming call" along with the name of the caller. You'll have three choices:
- Retrieve your phone and answer the call.
- Send the call directly to voice mail by holding down a button on the PipSqueak.
- Give yourself time to answer the call on your phone by briefly pushing the same button. This is by far the best feature of the device, one that cannot be accomplished on a phone. Once the extended time feature is activated, PipSqueak answers the call, notifies the caller that you are about to answer but need more time and periodically repeats "Please hold" until you answer. There is no time limit other than your caller's patience.
PipSqueak is also programmed to alert you when you are around 30 feet from the phone to prevent you from leaving it behind. Hit the distance and the device activates in the same way as when a call comes in, and reads: "Phone Lost ."
PipSqueak has been tested with Blackberry devices, iPhones and Android phones.
"As new phones come out, we test them with the PipSqueak. We've had to make some tweaks, so it works," Nissan said.
The device works with international phones too.
"At CES, a BBC reporter paired her phone with one of the PipSqueaks on display. She asked to use my phone to call her U.K. number. It worked perfectly," Jim Randall said.
Out of the box, PipSqueak is programmed to search for devices. A Bluetooth-enabled phone will detect its presence. Select PipSqueak from your mobile and you're done, including a transfer of contacts for its caller ID feature. The device can be reset to be re-paired with another device.
PipSqueak will be available late summer 2011 for around $60. Nissan and Randall are currently in discussions with national cell phone carriers and expect PipSqueaks to be sold at cell phone stores, on their Website and through other retailers.
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