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Google appears to be looking at throat tattoos as the next big thing in wearable computing, if a patent sought by its newly acquired subsidiary Motorola Mobility is any sign.
The patent application of Motorola Mobility seeks to couple the electronic skin tattoo to a mobile communication device like a smartphone or tablet.
"The system comprises an electronic skin tattoo capable of being applied to a throat region of a body. The electronic skin tattoo can include an embedded microphone; a transceiver for enabling wireless communication with the (mobile communications drvice); and a power supply configured to receive energizing signals from a personal area network associated with the MCD," read the abstract of the patent application from the US Patent and Trademark Office website.
If developed, the throat tattoo can open a new avenue for users to issue commands to their smartphones, tablets, or other mobile devices - or even configure the devices to work like lie detectors.
Google has a big stake in mobile tech, as the company behind the massively popular Android operating system.
A separate article on TechHive.com said the throat tattoo may be taking Google Glass a "big step further."
It noted that while throat microphones are not new, being worn by pilots during World War II to improve wireless communications between the ground and personnel on noisy airplanes, Google plans to implement the idea for use with modern mobile devices.
Under the patent, the tattoo can communicate over Near-Field Communications, Bluetooth, Infrared or other short-range technology.
"A throat microphone embedded in an electronic tattoo could help reduce street noise and other nearby sounds that often enter microphones and distort communications," it said ().
Other uses may include placing the tattoo on the throat of an animal to pick up sounds or as a display with a user interface.
On the other hand, TechHive said the skin tattoo may use a galvanic skin response detector to act as a lie detector.
“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,” it quoted the patent application as saying.
Voice command trend
TechHive quoted analysts as saying this concept is in line with a general trend of using voice commands to computers.
“If this concept gets productized, it means that consumer will have a much-improved, hands-free-experience,” said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy who noted the military actively uses throat microphones.
However, TechHive said it could take years for the new Motorola patent application to be reviewed and possibly approved. — TJD, GMA News