Cell phones made of wood to be showcased at ITU Telecom World 2009, and CEATEC Japan 2009

NTT Docomo, one of Japan's major cell phone carriers, has announced they will be showcasing new prototype cell phones made of wood at ITU Telecom World 2009 and CEATEC Japan 2009. The new line of phones will be called "Touch Wood" and are made with surplus wood from culling operations designed to maintain healthy forests.

So far, "Touch Wood" production has used wood that was culled from the Shimanto forest in Kochi prefecture. According to the NTT Docomo press release, wood that is acquired during thinning operations has limited applications but the "Touch Wood" series gives the wood a commercial use.

The phone is a combined effort between Sharp, Olympus, and the "more trees" project. The "more trees" project is a reforestation project Ryuichi Sakamoto founded with four others. Ryuichi Sakamoto is a Japanese musician in addition to being a Academy Award, Grammy, and Golden Globe winning environmentalist.

According to NTT Docomo, the body of the phone is made of Cypress Wood and is touted to be durable, water resistant, and mildew resistant. Unlike natural wood, the three-dimensional compression molding is claimed to make the Touch Wood body more resistant to wearing out. Mockup images of the phone make it look decidedly iPhone like. The phone's graphical user interface is based on Ryuichi Sakamoto's  fellow "more trees" member Mikiya Takimoto's photographic art.

NTT Docomo goes out of its way to mention each individual handset will have its own distinct grain patterns and coloring because no artificial colors or paints are used. The cypress wood will retain its natural appearance and aroma.

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