Hey iPhone, Gotta Light?
What's next for the iPhone? Well, to borrow a phrase from the Fantastic Four's Human Torch, "Flame On!"
That's generally the idea behind Sonic Lighter, an "interactive sonic application" for the iPhone from the creative folks at [Smule](http://www.smule.com).
Sonic Lighter won't make you work faster or more effectively, won't get you a better job by reconnecting you with long lost acquaintances and it won't help you get organized. Nah, it's one of those silly little fun applications that's well worth the $0.99 for the 'wow your friends' factor alone. You can see an [eerily effective video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XUw6Hy4Tzk) of Sonic Lighter in action, here.
There are other ways to show flame on the iPhone, like [Freebird](http://www.appstoreapps.com/2008/08/23/freebird/), which lets you choose from different flame settings, like a candle or glowstick. Great for holding up at concerts. But Sonic Lighter is cooler. You can actually blow on the flame through the iPhone's microphone and have it move around or even blow it out, just as you might with a lit match. You can also manipulate the flame with your finger -- and not get burned.
Or, want to give another iPhone user a light? No problem, just touch another iPhone and your Sonic Lighter flame spreads to the other device. .
You can also check out the company's "Global flame map" for a worldwide view of other recently "lit" iPhones.
And stay tuned for more. "We'll continue to leverage our love for sound and our drive to be creative," said Dr. Ge Wang, founder and CTO of Smule told me.
Wang said he likes the idea of working with everyday technology to bring a more human element to the devices we use all the time. "The phone has become a natural extension of our lives and we're looking at how to combine that with our love of sound and music and create magical applications."
Capturing microphone input was one creative twist. "That technology was just waiting there to be used," said Wang. "It came out of a team brainstorming session trying to figure out how to best leverage some of the research that's been done in computer music and by the audio community.'
Wang, a professor at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford, started Smule with some other Stanford and Princeton music PhD's. He's also the director of the Stanford Laptop Orchestra which you can hear a little bit of [here](http://slork.stanford.edu/media).