Adaptation in action – The Mosquito Ring Tone

…we are convinced that we are contemplating the emergence of a new social landscape in which individualized persons strive to cope with the responsibility of constructing their networks of communication on the basis of who they are and what they want. Excerpt from
Castells, Manuel, Mireia Fernandez-Ardevol, Jack Qiu and Araba Sey,”Social Uses of Wireless Communications: The Mobile Information Society”, paper prepared for the International Workshop on Wireless Communication Policies and Prospects: A Global Perspective, USC, October 8-9, 2004, available for download here.

The ring tone sounds godawful, but the story is a fascinating one, forwarded to me by Bill Warters.

A technology using ultra-high frequency sound to drive teenage loiterers away from shopping centers in the U.K. has been hijacked by tech-savvy teens to create an inaudible cell phone ring tone. Students are employing the technology to surreptitiously use mobile phones in class by creating ring tones that most adults cannot hear.

As Castells et al point out above, we are living in the age of mobile communications, where the social adpatations of mobile phones and other portable telephony and computing devices are as varied as they are evolving. Two interest podcasts on the issue of the socialisation of technology, which I’ve pointed to in an earlier post as an issue of great interest to me, are to be found on the

The first, titled The Challenges and Possibilities of the Wireless Future, is an interview with Intel’s Communications Technology Lab Director & GM, Alan Crouch on Intel’s research in connectivity technology for mobile and enterprise computing. Though the focus is chiefly on Intel technologies in this interview, it is interesting to note how one of the world’s semiconductor companies is thinking about mobility.

The other podcast of interest is titled Defining Behavior, Designing Technology and is an interview with researchers, anthropologists, and product designers who have traveled the world on a mission to learn how people define a sense of place, and how they interact with technology at home and on the road. Listen, for instance, to the ways mobile phones are being used in India – to view entire Bollywood movies ! (To the uninitiated, a Bollywood movie is usually a wonderful 3 hour long celebration of music, dance and colour, with the occasional plot thrown in for good measure…)

The mosquito ring tone is one more way in which we are discovering new uses for mobile technologies. In my post Desperate for a Revolution (among others in this blog) I’ve explored more serious uses of mobiles.

What is the frequency of peace, I wonder.

New York Times article on the Mosquito ring-tone

Cellphones and conflict

Content without wires

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