Let’s face it: when sending messages, no number of emojis and emoticons will show how we’re really feeling. But with this ‘First World Problem’ in mind, New Jersey-based startup Tactonics has designed a device that transforms your lifeless texts into vibrant sensory experiences.

The coin-sized, Bluetooth-enabled TactPuck gadget triggers off vibration, illumination and hot/cold sensation when a user receives a message via a smartphone app. Metro spoke to Eddie Bugg, founder of Tactonics, about his concept, which is currently in its development stage.

Where did the idea for TackPuck come from?

The TactPuck wearable and its accompanying TactSpace smartphone app came from recognizing the popularity of mobile and instant messaging, and asking the simple question: "What's next?". In other words, we have text messaging, voice messaging, picture and video messaging, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. How will we prefer to communicate in the future? And we found the answer: it’s sensory messaging!

 

How will sensory messaging work?

Imagine sending and receiving mobile messages that don't have to be spoken or heard, typed or read. Instead, they are received by touching and other senses. Imagine a place where thoughtful messages are clearly and discretely communicated without voice, text, or images. With TactSpace users send and receive messages without hearing, reading, or even seeing them.

And what exactly will the user feel?

Using the TactSpace app people can send personal sensory messages known as “tacts”. They will be received by other phones and wirelessly pushed to the wearable, which is on contact with skin. There are endless variations of feelings to experience: warmth, vibration, "nudging", and "shock”, for example.

Why are sensory messages the way of the future?

Sensory messaging has been around as long as people have been touching, hugging, holding hands or shaking hands. However, what if we are not close enough to feel a handshake or embrace? Even with all those messaging apps, we still long to reach out and touch those we care about. Simply put, calling and texting just isn’t always enough. A world limited to speaking and hearing, typing and reading, somehow leaves us feeling inadequate.

Do you have an idea to provide messages with the sense of smell?

Yes. I hope that soon TactPuck will be able to emit an infinite number of aromas. But, we are still seeking funding to further support our prototype.

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