Do you remember the iPhone 3Gi that the Onion joked about a few months ago? The “i” stood for “invisible” as the Onion staff were mocking the iPhone which they thought would one day become invisible. Believe it or not but an invisible iPhone might be available one day, according to a research project carried out by a few German researchers.

The project, dubbed Imaginary iPhone, allows you to use your iPhone without even taking it out of your pocket. So how does this work exactly?

iPhone users (or any other device users), usually have a good sense of where keys or icons are on their phones. For example, I can unlock my iPhone and launch my Mail app without even looking at my phone. This is what this whole research is based on.

Users mimic the interaction on the palm of their hand. The interaction is tracked by a wearable depth camera which sends input events to the actual physical device. By mimicking the layout of the physical device, here an iPhone, users can operate the device based on spatial memory built up while using the physical device.

So what do you think? Are you impressed at all? Do you believe this could be the future of smartphones?


  • Sn0wshoe


    • Daniel CG

      stop saying first

    • QuarterSwede

      No one cares.

    • William


  • FASCINATING and very very impressive!

  • QuarterSwede

    It’s an interesting implementation but I think coupling it with phones is a bad idea. Not many people are going to want to wear a camera all the time. The technology seems better suited to desktop applications like imaginary mice and so forth.

  • Reytube

    Stupid. Never gonna happen. Even 50 years from now

  • c0edx


  • beowulf

    The only way this would happen is if the camera is built into a pair of contact lens that could also overlay the device display over my hand or whatever other surface I want to use as the control surface. Unless the technology is integrated to that level of transparency to the end user, then it’s just easier to take the device out of the pocket.

  • I agree this is just plain stupid!!

  • Benny

    I’m sure everybody would like to randomly touch there hand on the street seeing nothing hearing nothing from the device doing thier needs etc. (sorry but, Imaginary Phone MY ASS)

  • fojam


  • Mac

    very very very

  • Giraffe

    I see problems getting copyrights from HP, they’re the only ones who get to claim palmOS.

    • Ben

      First time I’ve laughed today. Thank you.

    • Ben

      Made me laugh for the first time today! Thank you.

  • Memo

    But what would be the point if your not gonna be looking at the actual phone

  • zen

    this is very similiar to the “sixth sense” technology developed by some folks at MIT. quite jawdropping. check it –

  • megatr0n


  • Pete

    Nonsense. Camera? Placed/atrached where? Utterly useless if you ask me.

  • SpideyRules


    (tee hee hee)

    Very interesting, but better used somewhere else. What good is it to use the clock app if i can’t see what I’m doing!