The Internet Phone
2 weeks, 2017, Copenhagen institute of interaction design

The Internet Phone makes the intangible processes of the internet tangible. You can access websites with the nostalgic interface of a rotary phone. Look up the IP address of the website you want to call in a special cyber directory, dial the twelve digit IP address using the rotary, and wait for your website to be read out loud in the receiver.

The Internet Phone leverages nostalgic telephone behaviours to demystify the invisible workings of the internet. Each step in the user experience is comparable to the process that a browser takes when retrieving a website. Looking up the IP addresses in a phone book is similar to how a browser gets an IP address from DNS (Domain Name System) directories. Dialling the twelve digits and waiting for the phone to retrieve the HTML content mimic how a browser requests data from servers. The voice-to-speech reading of the website is comparable to how a browser translates HTML and CSS code into human understandable content.

The 4 mode tokens mimic the different methods that a browser can interact with the internet. To activate a mode, unscrew the microphone cap in the receiver, and place a mode token inside. In the article mode, the phone formats a website as an article and omits unimportant content. In developer mode, the phone reads the entire HTML content of a website. In the incognito mode, the content is read out with a whispering voice. And in the history token mode, the phone recalls the last five visited webpages.
Concept video
Reactions from people trying the working prototype

Course: Physical Computing, Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, taught by Massimo Banzi, Dario Buzzini, and Ankkit Modi.