The Sgnl wristband is almost ready to turn your hand into a phone

The first product from the Samsung spin-off will officially launch in March.

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    We've seen Innomdle Lab's Sgnl wearable at CES a few times before, but it's worth revisiting because a) it's an absolutely crazy idea that works; and b) it's very nearly ready for the masses. In case you missed it the first time around, the Sgnl is a sleek, understated wearable that lets you have full-blown private phone conversations by simply touching your finger to your ear.

    The wearable, which was originally developed as a concept for Samsung's delightfully nutty C-Lab, transmits sound through your hand as vibrations that eventually come out of your finger as sound. In theory, this seems like an absurd concept. In practice, though, it appears to work as advertised. Even though Innomdle Lab's body conduction technology isn't specifically meant for music playback, a demo track streamed from a tablet via Bluetooth was piped into my wrist, up through my hand and came out surprisingly audible on through my finger.

    Gallery: Hands-on with the SGNL | 7 Photos

    There's no way you'd want to listen to an album this way even if it were possible, but the system is theoretically clear enough to keep conversations intelligible. We're told the Sgnl can store up to five contacts, which you can sift through using a set of slightly-too-gummy navigation buttons.

    The Sgnl also doubles as a fitness tracker because, well, why not? Good thing it's relatively comfortable to wear. The prototype units I've tried in the past were considerably more bulbous and hack-y, but the final product is actually remarkable restrained in its design. The actual body conduction bits are housed in a soft-touch plastic body, while a dark stainless steel strap runs around the rest of the wrist. My biggest concern so far, though, is how clumsy the clasp seems; you have to stick the tiny metal tab on one end into the slot on the other, and it can be difficult to do with just one hand.

    Even now, with Sgnl production in full swing, the wearable leaves some unanswered questions. Thankfully, we won't have to wait too long for clarification: The first units will be delivered to Kickstarter backers in March, with wider availability to follow soon after.

    Click here to catch up on the latest news from CES 2018.

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    Chris is Engadget's senior mobile editor and moonlights as a professional moment ruiner. His early years were spent taking apart Sega consoles and writing awful fan fiction. That passion for electronics and words would eventually lead him to covering startups of all stripes at TechCrunch. The first phone he ever swooned over was the Nokia 7610, because man, those curves.

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