Microsoft patent sends shockwaves through the world of fashion

The convergence of fashion and technology appears to be gathering pace, with Microsoft suggesting smartphone users could one day be alerted to the arrival of new messages through tiny electric shocks in their clothing.

This new concept in wearable technology came to light when the Redmond computing giant announced it had patented a means of applying a mild electrical stimulus to the user’s skin, signalling a smartphone notification.

The patent application, titled “Wearable Computer Having a Skin-Stimulating Interface”, was first submitted in February 2014 but not published until August this year. In it, the company offers a diagram using shoes and a t-shirt to show how the technology would work.

Microsoft wrote: “People are increasingly exposed to information these days. A snapshot of our modern society is likely to reveal many people using mobile devices while performing their daily routine tasks.

“Using mobile devices in such a manner may raise any of a variety of concerns, namely safety and/or etiquette.”

It went on to say how various companies are attempting to address these concerns by developing devices and technologies that allow content to be delivered and consumed in a “hands-free manner.”

Tingling sensation replaces good vibration

The developments follow on from the recent advent of the smartwatch, a wearable device which provides notification alerts through subtle vibrations on the user’s skin. According to reports, however, Microsoft’s proposed technology intends to generate more of a tingling feeling for the user, rather than the kind of pulsation we associate with mobile phones that are switched to silent.

It’s not all about conventional mobile notifications either. The technology is also capable of detecting body posture, and thus could be used to inform a wearer when they’ve been in the same position for too long. This could be particularly useful for reducing cases of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) among passengers on long-haul flights.

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