Facebook researchers are developing a device that could allow users to feel messages through their skin.
The sleeve-like prototype would apparently translate words into vibrations delivered by pads onto the arms.
A paper published by Facebook said it can be “devastating” to miss important calls, texts or notifications from loved ones and the new device would be helpful to people who can’t check their phone but need to receive messages.
It could be used when people are in meetings, in the cinema, or in church and even when running, driving or carrying shopping bags in both hands.
The device, called a transcutaneous language communication (TLC) system, transmits a “tactile representation of spoken or written language to the arm” which means users can “receive messages without looking at their smart devices, and feel them through their skin”.
Researchers said: “We use the forearm as the medium because it has a better tactile sensitivity than most body parts, less likely to disrupt daily activity compared to the hand, and more socially acceptable than the forehead or feet.
“The users can receive meaningful messages on their arms by feeling the vibrotactile stimuli, instead of inconveniently taking out and looking at their smart devices.”
The team behind the project has also developed an app to help users get to grips with the system, allowing them to learn words within minutes.
A separate study published by Facebook found volunteers were able to remember 20 simple words a day after receiving 26 minutes of training.