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ForcePhone from Nokia Research, HIIT sends positive vibes with a squeeze

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Most device vibration technology is used as pure feedback -- either confirmation that you've pressed something or that you've come across an obstacle. If a prototype developed by Nokia Research and the Helsinki Institute of Information Technology ever translates to production, however, it'll be as much a part of personal phone conversations as a soft voice or a cheeky text message. The modified N900 attaches a resistor that responds to a squeeze at four different pressure levels, and doles that out during a traditional or Skype-based call as a vibration on the other end. As you'd imagine, the aim is to give family, friends and lovers the closest they'll get to a hug (or the occasional frustration) when the distance is just too great for an in-person visit. Don't hold your breath for an extra-lovable Lumia anytime soon: there's no mention of any near-term production plans, and any adoption would require a platform switch just to get started. But if we ever see "reach out and touch someone" become a lot more than a slogan, we'll know where it came from.

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