Although smartphones are improving with every passing year and with each new generation, it’s interesting to note that the way we use our smartphones to carry out phone calls hasn’t really fundamentally changed in decades. There are a microphone and an earpiece attached to every land phone, feature phone, or smartphone, and the way we generally use these devices is by holding them against our ears whenever we want to have a conversation. Granted, the age of mobile phones did introduce hands-free calling and wired or (more recently) wireless headphones, but one startup in particular has taken to Kickstarter to raise funds for the creation of a product that would allow wearers to carry phone calls simply by placing their fingertips on their ear.
Innomdle Lab is the name of the startup, and their Kickstarter campaign revolves around a product called “Sgnl”. It’s a smart strap that can be used as a watch strap for analog & digital watches or smartwatches, including the Samsung Gear, the Apple Watch, and Pebble Time. The smart strap connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth and contains a so-called “Body Conduction Unit” (BCU), which seems to be a special haptic motor designed to transmit vibration through the wearer’s hand to his or her fingertip. Users are supposed to place their fingertip on their ear, and hear the caller’s voice generated by vibrations. Although the strap does not contain a speaker, it does include a microphone, otherwise phone calls would have been one-way only. The Kickstarter page claims that users can hear calls clearly “even in the noisiest of surroundings”, as “your finger doesn’t just transmit the voice to your ear” but “also blocks out background noise”.
There’s not much else to be said about the technology itself, as it seems both impressive and straight forward. However, as is the case with Kickstarter campaigns, there’s never a guarantee that the product works exactly as advertised, and there have been numerous Kickstarter flops to convince backers to be careful with their investments. Nevertheless, Sgnl appears to be a tremendous success so far, as the project has amassed $752,015 in pledges out of the original $50,000 goal at the time of writing, with 26 days to go before the Kickstarter campaign ends. The product has an estimated delivery date of February 2017, and the lowest pledge option currently available is worth $139. It rewards backers with one Sgnl smart strap, a dummy band, a remover tool, connection parts, and a micro-USB cable. Check out the video and source link below for additional details.