Justine Haupt never expected that a project she'd been working on for the past three years would suddenly cause her website to crash. But when Haupt published photos and schematics for her handheld rotary cell phone, that's exactly what happened.
Haupt, who works at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, detailed how she took the rotary mechanism from an old Trimline telephone, paired it with a microcontroller and an Adafruit Fona 3G cell transceiver, put it all into a 3D-printed casing, and built something that could replace her daily flip phone.
Haupt is firmly anti-smartphone, and for a long time she's used an LG flip phone for her basic mobile needs. But even that felt like too much, so Haupt's goal with the rotary cell was two-pronged: She wanted to strip a mobile phone down to its absolute essentials, while giving her an even more legitimate excuse for not text messaging her friends. "The point [is] . . . to show that it's possible to have a perfectly usable phone that goes as far from having a touchscreen as I can imagine, and which in some ways may actually be more functional," she wrote on her website.
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