A wristwatch-size device that turns a user’s finger into an earpiece has been developed by a Japanese mobile phone maker and could be commercially available by 2005.

Called Finger Whisper, the device, developed by the Multimedia Laboratories of NTT DoCoMo, uses a wristband to convert sounds into vibrations that run through the finger to the ear.

The device uses NTT DoCoMo’s Whisper Wearable Terminal, which allows users to answer calls by touching their forefinger to their thumb and then inserting their forefinger into their ear.

Rather than a keypad, the Finger Whisper operates by voice recognition, allowing users to dial numbers by speaking them aloud.

While the interface sounds futuristic, some existing hands-free systems send vibrations through skull bones to generate sound.

Researcher Masaaki Fukumoto of NTT DoCoMo says that the device could be on the market within two years.
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