The Strange Future of Wearable Computers


What if you could wear your computer or smartphone as a neck tattoo someday?

Motorola has patented the concept of an “electronic skin tattoo” for your throat, equipped with an “embedded microphone” and “a transceiver for enabling wireless communication.” This futuristic tattoo would help you communicate with smartphones, personal computers or other “mobile communication devices.”

Check out the complete patent application at this link:

“Electronic tattoo, which can be applied to a region of the body via an adhesive, is further comprised of a controller, a personal area network (PAN) transceiver, audio circuitry, a power supply, and a signal processor … Controller of electronic tattoo can be configured to execute programs or instructions to enable communicative coupling of the electronic tattoo to external electronic devices such as a smartphone, a gaming device, a tablet computer, a wearable computer, for example.”

The application also hinted at the lie-detecting possibilities of this tattoo, as it could potentially include a “galvanic skin response detector” that could measure and reveal your body’s physical reactions.

The Atlantic senior editor Alexis Madrigal explored the implications of such a device:

The User could have a screen on his throat that turns orange when he starts sweating because he’s a liar. Everything will be clear to his business associates and loved ones, from the timber of his voice to the content of his character. Who would not want to live in this world?

Melville House’s Dustin Kurtz wrote about the implication of this truth-telling tech for writers:

“Our most effective social lubricant, the falsehood, would become so much grit in the wheels. Only psychopaths could be politicians. What relationship could survive? But of course the most adversely affected, as with all big inventions, would be the poor novelists.”

What do you think? Would the convenience of a wearable computer outweigh the potential privacy issues of this theoretical device?

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