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NTT DoCoMo carves out wooden cell phone

Japanese cell phone giant NTT DoCoMo recently announced its Touch Wood concept phone, a handset made with cypress wood. Naturally, it's insect- and mildew-resistant.

The Touch Wood mockup (top) and prototype based on the SH-04A model (bottom). NTT DoCoMo

If you don't think plastic is fantastic, here's some good news: Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has created a new prototype cell phone made from cypress wood.

The Touch Wood handset is crafted from surplus wood culled during forest maintenance work.

DoCoMo teamed up with Sharp and Olympus to create the prototype (seen bottom right, with an ergonomic mockup above). More Trees, a reforestation group supported by musician and actor Ryuichi Sakamoto, was also involved.

Olympus contributed "three-dimensional compression molding" that made the wood usable for phones, according to DoCoMo. The molding also made the cypress shiny and resistant to insects, mildew, and water.

The prototype's GUI features graphics based on the work of photographer Mikiya Takimoto.

The Touch Wood phones will be shown off next month at ITU Telecom World 2009 and Ceatec Japan 2009.