Nissan has created an armrest that blocks mobile phone signals, thus offering drivers a reprieve from distracting phone calls, text messages, and emails without having to change any settings on their handset.

The armrest – dubbed the Signal Shield – was integrated into the automaker’s Juke crossover as a prototype, but may be put into production and proliferate to other models if it’s found the device receives positive feedback from the public, announced the brand in a May 4 press release.

While the concept is novel, the technology is not: an electromagnetic field-blocking compartment was first created in the 1830s by English scientist Michael Faraday, to whom the Faraday box owes its name.

In keeping with Faraday’s original concept, the lining of the armrest blocks incoming electromagnetic signals – including cellular and Bluetooth signals – by distributing them across the armrest lining’s external conducting material, thus preventing them from reaching the device.

Simply opening the lid of the armrest will restore full signal and phone functionality.

A USB cable contained within the armrest will allow music lovers to continue playing music or podcasts saved to their phone’s memory.

The automaker considers its new Signal Shield armrest a new option for drivers who are keen to quell their distracted driving habits.

“Nissan produces some of the safest cars on the road today, but we are always looking at new ways to improve the well-being of our customers,” said Alex Smith, managing director, Nissan Motors.

“Mobile phone use at the wheel is a growing concern across the automotive industry, and indeed society, particularly with the high number of ‘pushed’ communications, such as texts, social media notifications, and app alerts that tempt drivers to reach for their devices.”

(Nissan)