Sgnl is a product that Google should have released as part of this year’s Android Wear 2.0 platform refresh. Instead, it is Innomdle Labs that has developed the Bluetooth finger phone.
The Sgnl Is Loud and Clear
Sgnl is a smart strap enabling users to engage in phone conversations simply by placing their finger to their ear.
Sgnl’s key technology lies in its patented Body Conduction Unit (BCU), which transmits vibrations through the wrist and hand. Placing your finger in your ear causes these vibrations to be picked up as sound. The strap also has a microphone that picks up your side of the conversation. This effectively turns your hand in to a phone.
Works With Everything
To do it’s job, the Sgnl strap only needs your smart phone. You can use it with classic watches, Apple Watch, Android Wear, or on its own. Just connect it to your phone by Bluetooth, and you’re good to go.
The strap isn’t something that requires a whole new method of interaction. You tap the “answer” button to answer a call, exactly the same way you would on your phone. It has volume controls and a do-not-disturb function too. It does it’s job perfectly without getting in the way. You get to feel like James Bond, answering your phone, having a conversation without having others eaves drop, all without looking like a tool with a Bluetooth headset.
Unfortunately, though, the styling of the strap is a slight let down. While the Kickstarter does offer three colours for the strap, it doesn’t offer any material options. There is no mention of what material the strap is made from, but it looks thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Although this is a durable option – it is the same material the first Pebble strap was made from – it isn’t exactly pretty. This leaves me wondering if I would feel more like Maxwell Smart using it.
While it is understandable that steel bands may cause an issue with the BCU, leather bands wouldn’t interfere with the vibrations, and would allow for a decent range of colors and styles.
All in all, Sgnl is a welcome innovation to the wearable space that seems to have stagnated with a focus on just watches and activity trackers. Check out the video below, and head over to their Kickstarter page to learn more.