Is this the Creepy Future of Wearable Tech?
I keep telling people that technology isn’t something to be afraid of, and then Google goes and comes out with this terrifying patent.
From the name of the patent, “Coupling an Electronic Skin Tattoo to a Mobile Communication Device,” it sounds like Google is about to permanently tag us like we’re a drunken significant other with poor decision making skills. In reality, Google’s patent suffers more from its poor presentation than any 1984-esque dystopian plot. It’s not a tattoo at all, but a flexible, adhesive device or a device that can be worn on a collar (think about how that’ll drive fashion). The patent suggests that the intention of such a device is to encourage hands-free, voice activated interfacing with technology. It would have a mic and would connect wirelessly to your smartphone or other mobile tech.
The US patent filed by Google’s Motorola Mobility isn’t completely innocent. Section 0027 has earned some raised eyebrows. It goes like this:
“Optionally, the electronic skin tattoo 200 can further include a galvanic skin response detector to detect skin resistance of a user. It is contemplated 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.”
Who, exactly, will be taking this option? Who benefits if the electronic device you’re wearing on your neck is acting as a lie detector?
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the delightfully archaic language in the patent. I imagine some poor sap having a blinking red light on her neck and some bystander pointing and yelling, “Hark! She is speaking falsehoods!” before the townsfolk run her out of the village.
As a rule, I’m a pretty socially awkward individual, so my Google Graft would be broadcasting to the world that I’m nervous and weird all the time. Sounds like fun to me. Patents, however, are often overwritten because they want to cover as much ground and potential ground as possible. Nearly every shot fired in the patent wars is preemptive. I’m surprised there isn’t something in there about the device releasing nanobots into the bloodstream.
Oh, and for those of you who are worried about Google getting out of control? Don’t fret. Google isn’t cornering the market on disturbing wearables. Sony has filed a patent for a smart wig.