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If you thought that the backlash surrounding Google Glass was bad, just wait and see what happens if the latest Google patent becomes a reality. Word is that Google wants to sit everyone down and have them get an electronic microphone tattooed on our necks. Yeah. You read that correctly.
The story was first reported by The Register on November 8, US Patent Application No. 20130297301 was filed on May 3, 2012 through Google’s Motorola Mobility and involves “Coupling an Electronic Skin Tattoo to a Mobile Device”. Wow. That sounds a bit invasive and, um, permanent. But, before everyone starts freaking out here, what’s this whole tattooing business about?
As Slate notes, this really isn’t a tattoo that would be permanently inked on a person’s flesh for the rest of their lives. It’s most likely an “adhesive interface, or a chip that could be embedded in a collar or neckband” that would allow for wireless communication with a paired mobile device. This would make voice commands even easier, along with it being a truly hands-free device. Because of the proximity to a person’s mouth, the microphone would pick up your voice directly and cut-out all that interfering background noise, which would be nice during important phone calls.
The device may also be used as a lie-detector. This would be achieved by containing a “galvanic skin response detector to detect skin resistance of a user.” This simply means that it can tell if someone is lying by having a different skin-related response than someone who is confident because they’re telling the truth. When this happens, lights go off and we all can see whose pants are on fire.
As for battery-life, the patent claims that it will “employ solar panel technology, capacitive technology, nanotechnology or electro-mechanical technology.” And, this device would be available for your pet too. So someday a robotic voice coming from Fido can inform you when he’s hungry or needs to go outside for a bathroom break.
Of course, all of this probably won’t lessen the fears about Google and your privacy. Between Glass and keeping track of your online history, we don’t think that a lot of people would be willing to have a Google device attached to their neck. But, if there is one thing to simmer down all these concerns, it would be from Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic. “This is just a patent. Patents rarely become products. Most are worthless. ” If that’s the case, why would Google bother? Basically, the Big G could only be interested in parts of the patent or this is just the beginning of some bigger and better way of communicating in the future. Or, Google just has a thing for hoarding patents.
For now, our necks are safe from Google. This is, once again, just a patent.
What do you think about the latest Google patent? Would you be willing to get this “electronic tattoo” that would serve as a noise-cancelling microphone and lie detector? Or, is Google getting a little far-fetched here?