This is My Space

Sunday’s keynote at SXSW by Phil Torrone, Senior Editor for Make, and Limor Fried featured a cellphone killer app. She calls it Wave Bubble, and instructions for this project are on her website. The resulting device, which Limor admits is illegal to operate, will disable nearby cellphones.

Actually a few months ago, I was riding on Amtrak with a certain well-known blogger/hacker. It was late in the evening. A few rows ahead of us a woman with a loud voice recounted her day in excrutiating detail. This fan of Limor’s pulled out a fake cigarette box and fiddled with it. Almost instantly, the woman’s cellphone had dropped its connection. Oh my. What a shame there’s such bad reception.

In today’s talk, Phil and Limor speculated that maybe we ought to declare that we own the air space immediately around us. What if others could not violate this air space with cellphones? If they did, then my device would disable their device. Come too close and I’ll turn off your cellphone. It’s a silly idea, perhaps, but a useful notion that cellphones might incorporate this feature so that you only make connections but you can break them as well. A tool like the Wave Bubble could ensure that everybody gives me “my space.”

Image by Scott Beale of