Microsoft has patented technology that could one day see the creation of clothes that make your skin tingle when you receive a message.
The patent application points out that it is increasingly rude in society to constantly take out your phone to check for new text messages and emails, while vibrating alerts are often not felt.
So Microsoft instead suggests a different approach: a discreet mild electrical stimulus applied to the skin whenever the wearer has a new notification on their phone.
The patent’s abstract says: “Techniques are described herein that are capable of providing electrical stimuli to skin of a user to convey information to the user. For instance, the electrical stimuli may inform the user of an event, a condition, etc.”
In the patent’s diagrams, Microsoft includes a shoe and a T-shirt as examples of clothing which could used to incorporate the stimulus.
It also explained that the technology could be used to tell a user when the clothes are about to wear out, or help them to navigate through streets by using various stimuli around the body.
The patent was first filed in February 2014 and published on Thursday.
Like all patents, it is not guaranteed that the technology will ever go into production.
Microsoft wrote in the patent paperwork: “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.
“For instance people often text, conduct telephone calls, check messages, search the internet, etc. Using mobile devices in such a manner may raise any of a variety of concerns, namely safety and/or etiquette.
“In an effort to address such concerns, companies are developing devices that are capable of delivering content to users in an unobtrusive and/or hands-free manner.”