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Step toward the phone, please!

January 21, 2010

My neighbor has an annoying device that blares “You are trespassing!” whenever anyone gets within a certain radius of their home. Even if you are in the street, off their property, it still wants you to step away. Now there’s Zomm – a device that will warn you if you get too FAR from something.

Expected to cost around $80 when it goes on sale this summer, the Zomm bills itself as “the first wireless leash for mobile phones.” Use Bluetooth to pair it with a cell phone, and after that an alarm will sound whenever the Zomm gets too far from its partner. Zomm can also buzz when you get a call, sound a panic alarm or call for help. It even has speakerphone and voice mail capabilities. No wonder this device won the 2010 International CES “The Best of Innovations” Award.

I can understand why you would not want to lose an iPhone or Blueberry. Personally, I’m not sure I’d want the extra buzzing. For the sake of argument, though. let’s imagine that the Zomm turns out work well and becomes very popular. I could easily see something like it being used to reduce laptop thefts.

What Zomm variants might have a role in teaching and learning? How about something that would whistle when a student’s attention wandered too far from class? If you only heard one, you could blame the student. Hear twenty of them go off at the same time, though. and your teaching style will have to face the music.

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