Parasitic Cellphone Patent Promotes Community or Gets You Beaten

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

This cellphone patent from Motorola lets a cellphone keep an eye on its own battery power, and when low, turns the phone into a parasite on neighboring phones. When the juice on your phone gets down to a certain point, the phone switches off all non-essential functions (like dialing and texting) and finds a compatible phone within Bluetooth range to use as a proxy. Once a phone is found, that's where it gets interesting.

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Your low-battery phone will then send a Bluetooth message to the nearby phone, asking for its permission to act as a proxy. If given, your phone will use that phone as a relay to send an SMS message to everyone on your emergency contact list that you can still communicate but only via SMS. The SMS messages will actually be sent not by your phone, but by the proxy phone, which will pass messages to and from your phone over Bluetooth. An interesting application, but one that we can't see catching on unless SMS plans get a whole lot cheaper. That and if people warm up to the idea of paris-ites parasites.

Patent [USPTO via New Scientist via Textually]

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DISCUSSION

I'll admit right now that I don't have a cell phone, mostly because I barely talk on any phone at all (less than a minute a month on average, literally)...

but who in their right mind needs to tell a bunch of people all at once "OMG, my battery is low! I can't call you now! just text K?" And what in the heck is an "emergency contact list?" I thought that list was reserved for people who should know if I get injured or sick at work...Is a low battery some kind of emergency now? Should we start a charity for people disabled by low-capacity cell-phone batteries?