Samsung Introduces New Smartphone Accessory
IN a page ripped from the Get Smart handbook, the latest smartphone accessory has users sticking a finger in their ear and talking into their wrist.
It was one of the many wacky devices on display at the world’s largest technology expo today, where everything from robotic pets and smart bras to a belt that judges how many times you’ve overindulged went on show.
But it was the watch band with a difference, TipTalk, that surely won the prize for the most unusual gadget of the Consumer Electronics Show as it promised to deliver phone conversations to your ear just as long as you stuck your finger in it.
The device from Samsung spin-off Innomdle Lab fits any standard wristwatch and connects to Google Android smartphones.
When a phone call arrives, the wearer can accept it with a button on the band, and audio is translated into vibrations which travel up the skin.
By pushing their index finger on to the front of the ear, or tragus, the user can hear the conversation even though no one around them hears a thing.
A microphone on the watch band lets them talk to their caller, even though bystanders might think they’re just talking to themselves.
In practice, the volume is a bit low and the vibration a little strange at first, but you can hear the caller on the other end of the phone even in noisy environments.
The watch band also promises to count your steps, track your sleep, and light up when you receive text messages.
Innomdle spokesman Jai Ho Jung said the unique smartphone accessory was created by four Samsung engineers who won an in-house competition and spun their invention into a start-up company.
“Samsung is such a large company, it takes years for them to bring a device to market,” Mr Jung said.
“And wearable technology is such a trendy market.”
The start-up will launch a crowd-funding campaign for its vibrating watch band in March or April, he said, with the product expected to sell for $US70.
Mr Jung said Apple iPhone compatibility was also in the works, as was a simpler, cheaper model for people who already owned a smartwatch.
TipTalk wasn’t the only strange device on show at CES, however. Wearable technology went a step further, even appearing inside belts and bras.
The OMbra smart but supportive undergarment, from Canadian firm OMsignal, is packed with sensors to measure the wearer’s respiration and heart rate, as well as the number of calories burned during exercise sessions. It follows a smart shirt the company produced in 2014.
For men, there is the Welt, or wellness belt, from Samsung Creative Labs. The belt will count the wearer’s steps and time spent sitting, but also registers how much tension their stomach is creating on the belt, delivering an “overeating” score if the tension in sustained for a longer period.
Robot maker WowWee also showed off its energetic robotic dog that responds to its master (the person wearing its smart wristband), and that can fetch a ball, walk sideways like a crab, and can be trained based on the behaviour you reward.
Article was originally posted here