Sgnl? Sounds like a social network for toothpaste fetishists. Or a book about flags with really unfortunate typos on its cover. Or—
Actually, it’s a wearable that lets you make phone calls by jamming your finger in your ear.
You know, that’s even dafter than my stupid ideas.
Surprisingly, it’s not. Sure, you look a bit like a C-list Dom Joly in making a ‘telephone’ shape with your hand and then taking an actual call, but there are practical benefits. After all, you can lose earbuds, but it’s pretty darn difficult to lose your finger.
Also, because your finger’s already in your ear, you shouldn’t have problems with people overhearing your call, or blocking out ambient noise. Plus your phone gets to stay safely in your pocket, so no-one can nick it in ironic fashion while you’re fielding an unsolicited call about insurance.
This still sounds a bit like witchcraft. How does it work?
Sgnl, as noted, is a wearable. It essentially masquerades as a watch strap, communicates with your smartphone via Bluetooth, and uses its ‘Body Conduction Unit’ to shoot audio as vibrations through your hand to your fingertip. Place your fingertip to your ear and your lughole amplifies the vibration so you can hear it. So you can respond, there’s a mic in Sgnl’s strap.
Some of that sounds weirdly dangerous.
OK, so perhaps our use of ‘shoot’ wasn’t the best terminology. But the creators explain Sngl transmits entirely through vibrations and “does not emit ultrasonic nor electromagnetic waves”, and they “promise that it is safe”. Assuming your ears and hands don’t disintegrate when you drive over bumpy ground, you’ll be fine.
Indeed. And Sgnl doesn’t stop there. You also (as is seemingly law these days) get an app, which can nudge you when reminders come in, and monitor your activity patterns if you’re one of those annoying fitness types who likes to run about and stuff.
What, like the smartwatch you’re already wearing on your wrist?
OK, yes, fine – there is that. But, c’mon – making calls by sticking your finger in your ear! Surely there’s no greater example of the fact we’re living in the future?
Oh, go on, then – how much?
A mere US$139 (S$190) gets you a set over on Kickstarter. It should then arrive by February 2017.
I said: “Fab”.
You’ve got your fingers in your ears, practising, haven’t you?