Creepy Elfoid Cellular Phone Humanizes Mobile Telecommunication

The Elfoid “portable tele-operated android” from Japan's ATR is an innovative communication medium designed to take cellular phone communication technology to the next level... whether you want to go there or not.

Elfoid® P1 (we'll just call it “Elfoid” for short) is one of several oddly organic and slightly disturbing concepts announced by Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR).

The purpose of Elfoid is to add appearance, touch, and motion to the basic voice component of mobile communication. In this respect, Elfoid takes the portable phone in a direction smartphones haven't yet dared to go.

At the same time, Elfoid eschews most smartphones' focus on pure information by concentrating on the emotional link between two phone users. As such, Elfoid has no screen – instead it sports an interface consisting of one button and one LED in the chest, a microphone in one leg, and speakers in the head.

The cellphone-sized package is then covered in soft urethane gel which, according to chief robot designer Hiroshi Ishiguro and his research team at ATR, “provides a feeling of ease”. Anyone watching someone use an Elfoid, on the other hand, may experience a profound feeling of unease.

While currently still under development, it's anticipated that Elfoid will someday join a host of other robots and robotic devices already available for purchase online at the Vstone webste and in person at the Vstone Robot Center in Akihabara.