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Finger phone gadget smashes Kickstarter target in hours

Remember when you were a kid playing secret agents by sticking a finger in your ear to mimic speaking on some kind of futuristic phone? Well, the future is apparently here — courtesy of a new Kickstarter campaign called Sgnl.

Sgnl’s concept? To give you a wearable wristband, complete with built-in microphone, which channels sound waves up your finger and directly into your ear. The wristband can act as a standalone device, but it’s primarily designed to be worn as a watch strap.

“The technology is a body conduction unit,” Hahn Ryu, director of business development for creators Innomdle Lab, a spinoff from Samsung, told Digital Trends. “There’s an actuator built into the strap that translates a voice signal into a vibration. When the BCU module is in contact with your wrist, the vibration goes all the way up your fingertip. If you touch your ear it then vibrates the air in your ear canal, which lets you hear sound.”

Related: Smart sensor and machine learning could help diagnose voice disorders

It’s definitely a neat idea, and while it may strike you as a bit of a gimmick, Ryu pointed out that there are actually some very useful use cases.

“We decided to create it because we were seeing smartwatch owners having conversations using speakerphone,” he said. “That’s okay in some cases, but it can also be awkward if you don’t want people listening in. That’s how we started the project. Then, once we had developed the technology, we realized that it also solves the problem of people losing their Bluetooth headsets, or getting their EarPods tangled in their pockets.”

Whatever the applications, it certainly seems to be creating a buzz. “We’ve been blown away by the response,” Ryu said. “We thought we would be a giant success if we could hit our funding goal in the first couple of days. We managed it within the first hour. In the sixteenth hour, we hit the 200 percent mark. We’ve just closed the first 24 hours and the campaign is 265 percent funded. It’s way beyond our expectations. We’re truly humbled by the response.”

If you want to get involved, you can do so by visiting the Kickstarter page, where Sgnl units start at $109.