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Korean future phone looking handy

Dispense with buttons and work it out manually instead.

The International Forum , based in Hannover, has been holding annual competitions to recognise good design since 1954 - the prestigious 'iF' label winners can use is pretty much a ticket to success. From our point of view, one of the most appealing award categories for gadget fans has to be that for concept products.

In that field, which is reserved specifically for students to keep smarty-pants like Sony Ericsson out, we find an unusual idea for a mobile phone from a South-Korean university.

Fingers do the talking

The Finger Touching phone , by Sunman Kwon of Hong-ik University , uses a virtual keyboard that projects an image of a keypad onto an existing surface, thus eliminating space that a real keypad would take up. The twist, however, is that the projector is built into a wrist strap that throws the virtual buttons onto the wearer's hand.

With a button allocated to each between-joint part of the four fingers, there's ample room for a normal 3x4 key layout, but we have to wonder if it might not be a little easier to just pull out a normal phone and press a few real buttons instead.