March 1, 2014 2:00 am JST

Japanese invention to sink teeth into wearable-device market

OSAKA -- In a year that has seen much ado about wearable devices, a new gadget could have tech enthusiasts champing at the bit -- literally.

     Kazuhiro Taniguchi, a lecturer at Hiroshima City University, says he has developed an ear-mounted device the wearer can control simply by biting down. It uses infrared waves to sense jaw muscle movement and also contains GPS, a compass, microphone and speaker.

     Taniguchi envisions a variety of hands-free applications. A commuter could select specific traffic information by biting down, while a tourist could trigger an audio explanation just by turning his or her head toward a point of interest.

     While the gadget is still a prototype, plans are underway to team with a private-sector partner and have the high-powered earpiece on the market in 2015.