There's a trope in technology writing that is equally irritating in either direction that it moves. Either technology is driving people farther apart, or making us more connected than ever. You've seen plenty of words about this before, here's an idea that splits the difference.
The irritation stems from the grains of truth in both assertions. Text messaging is ubiquitous, but somewhat impersonal. We can all agree that emoticons only go so far, even if we do stick our tongues out every time we tap out a ":P."
Nokia Research teamed with the Helsinki Institute of Information Technology to address this conundrum. The group took the hacker friendly Maemo-equipped N900 and added a resistor that allows the phone to register and interpret squeezes.
The resulting device is being dubbed the ForcePhone by the researchers. The squeezes, interpreted by the phone at four different levels of intensity, are translated into vibrations for both the squeezer and the person on the other side of the call, or even a Skype session. It's easy to imagine this functionality communicating a squeeze of the hand, a hug, or at the highest intensity, even irritation or anger.