Don’t use your cellphone just to make calls?use it to attack other cellphones! The design firm Ideo has invented cellphones that discourage people from making unnecessary calls or zap other cellphone users who talk too long or too loudly in public. One design comes with two metal plates attached to it that can send an increasing electric shock to the people you?re talking to. Another phone is shaped like a musical instrument. “It looks like a snake that has swallowed a mobile phone,” says designer Graham Pullin. In order to make a call, you have to stand up and play a tune on the musical phone. “It seems inconceivable that someone would stand up and play it in the middle of a crowded restaurant so it is a good litmus test about where it is appropriate to make a call,” Pullin says.

Then there’s the catapult phone, which allows users to aim their phone at someone talking on another phone nearby and send a sound that disrupts their conversation. Maybe the best design is a quiet phone that allows you to have a silent conversation. Instead of speaking, you simply press a button to reply “yes” or “no” the person on the other end of the line.

We have to admit we like the catapult phone best. Now can someone design a zapper for those loud “boom box” car radios?

There are certain people we can always talk to quietly, without disturbing anyone else.

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