Digital World Native

Is AI-powered sexy ‘Alo’ the phone of the future?

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This smartphone concept design purports to usher in a new era by getting rid of screens & by using a voice activated AI-powered virtual assistant with projected holograms. All of it using the form factor of a sophisticated sex toy.

2 famous French industrial designers Philippe Starck & Jerome Olivet have teamed up with electronics manufacturer Thomson to show the world ‘Alo‘, a design that they say is the “smartphone of the future.” It’s a radical departure from the ubiquitous iPhone-inspired, tactile screen-based phones we all carry in our pockets.

Philippe is already well known & widely respected as the designer of the Xiaomi Mi Mix, the 1st smartphone with a screen that covers as much as 91% of its frontal surface area. Now the designer is going even further & creating a device with absolutely no screen. He sees the presence of screens as limiting factors in the introduction of new form factors.

Alo gets rid of the standard LED-backlit touchscreen, replacing it with 3D holographic images of videos, messages, or whatever else a user needs to view. It comes in a gelatinous, translucent housing, designed to be grabbed with the palm of your hand, which reminds one of an electric shaver or of a futuristic sex toy.

Alo phone

According to statements by Jerome, Alo provides a “fully vocalized interface in all phone functions, reads SMS & emails, & even allows them to dictate their messages rather than typing them”. He goes on to explain that the phone’s camera takes on the function of an eye, letting it read texts & identify faces, as well as to project 3D holograms to view movies or messages.

The translucent, curvy, crescent-shaped Alo would be made from a molded aluminum alloy core & covered with an as yet undetermined polymer which will provide users with haptic feedback in the form of vibration & heat. The polymer surface would be self-healing, so the device will be able to take abuse without incurring debilitating damage.

Since it will not have a touchscreen, voice-activation, guided by AI, will have to be really, really good. In this manner, Alo is touted by its creators as a response to the pervasive “culture of screens”, which Starck views as unpractical in that screens do not allow for flexibility regarding innovation in design & form factor.

Stark & Olivet plan on developing an Alo prototype by year’s end with the help of Thomson.

Image Credit: Jerome Olivet