November 13, 2013
Google Unit Files Patent Application For Lie-Detecting Throat Tattoo Microphone
[ Watch the Video: Tattoo Sticker For Your Throat Patented By Google ]
While any discussion of wearable technology immediately brings to mind visors and watches, a new patent filed by Google’s Motorola Mobility division suggests that the firm is working on an electronic tattoo that will serve as a microphone for various other devices.
According to CNN’s Doug Gross, the tattoo would be worn on a person’s throat and would be used to communicate with smartphones, tablet computers, gaming devices, wearable computers or other types of gear through a Bluetooth-style wireless connection.
“The idea is that wearers could communicate with their devices via voice commands without having to wear an earpiece or the Glass headset,” Gross explained. “Other possible uses include making both incoming and outgoing audio clearer. That could mean anything from making smartphone conversations clearer in a crowded room to being able to listen to music without earphones.”
Intriguingly, Daniel Johnson of The Telegraph pointed out the patent also claims that the throat tattoo could potentially come equipped with “a galvanic skin response detector” that could “detect skin resistance of a user.” Operating on the basis that “a user that may be nervous or engaging in speaking falsehoods may exhibit different galvanic skin response than a more confident, truth telling individual,” this means the device could also be a lie-detector.
Alexis C. Madrigal, a reporter with The Atlantic, also shared some interesting factoids from the patent application. For instance, while it is referred to as a tattoo, the device is actually more like a sticker or adhesive bandage, and Motorola touts that the tattoo can also be applied to animals.
Google isn’t the only company working on something like this (although other researchers are apparently focusing on using the devices for other purposes, including as biomedical sensors), Madrigal said. Computerworld reporter Matt Hamblen added that this type of device can actually trace its roots back to throat microphones worn by World War II pilots to improve ground-to-air communications on their loud aircraft.
While Hamblen said that Google did not respond to requests for more information about the patent applications, plenty of other tech experts did chime in. Moor Insights & Strategy analyst Patrick Moorhead told him that if the device is actually produced, it would provide consumers with “a much-improved, hands-free-experience,” while Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said that while he doubted the product’s mass market appeal, that the patent demonstrated that companies were “thinking outside the box to find new ways to solve some problems.”