Google patents a throat tattoo microphone for smartphones

In one of its more unusual inventions, Google has patented a new type of microphone that is applied as a tattoo to a user’s throat and communicates wirelessly to a user’s smartphone or tablet.

The patent application on the unusual invention was filed through Google’s hardware subsidiary, Motorola Mobility, with the application number 13462881.

Implanted on a user’s throat, the device includes a microphone, and an NFC or Bluetooth transceiver that can send data to a user’s smartphone or tablet.

“An electronic skin tattoo affixes to a body surface for providing auxiliary voice input to a mobile communication device. The tattoo includes a microphone, a transceiver for wireless communication with the mobile communication device, a power supply, and a controller coupled to the power supply, the transceiver and the microphone,” the patent states.

“The controller is operable to receive an initialization signal from the mobile communication device to initiate reception of an audio stream picked up from the microphone and transmit via the transceiver audio signals for the mobile communication device.”

The patent application reveals the tattoo can be powered wirelessly, and could potentially include its own battery.

“A power supply … for the electronic tattoo … can be configured to receive energizing signals from external sources, including a personal area network employing NFC, Bluetooth.RTM., or Zigbee.RTM. technology. The power supply … can also simply be a battery that may or may not be rechargeable.”

Aside from containing a microphone, the device doubles as a lie detector through the use of galvanic skin response.

“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.”

According to the application, the device is designed to improve call quality in noisy environments.

“Mobile communication devices are often operated in noisy environments. For example, large stadiums, busy streets, restaurants, and emergency situations can be extremely loud and include varying frequencies of acoustic noise,” the patent states.

“Communication can reasonably be improved and even enhanced with a method and system for reducing the acoustic noise in such environments and contexts.”

It is unclear whether Google actually intends to commercially release a product based on its electronic tattoo.

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