Talking tech since 2003

Earlier this month, when I wrote about Motorala’s application to patent a “neck tattoo microphone,” I thought to myself, “wearable computing will probably not get weirder than this.” But clearly I was so, so wrong. Because Sony has filed an application with the United States Patent Office for a SmartWig.

So, you know, the weirdness has only just begun.

Not content to sit idly by while Google takes over your eyeballs with Google Glass, or Motorola literally stamping your neck with its tech, Sony wants all of your scalp to be in constant communication with its devices.

Here’s the basic description of what the SmartWig would be:

“Wearable computing device, comprising a wig that is adapted to cover at least a part of a head of a user, at least one sensor for providing input data, a processing unit that is coupled to the at least one sensor for processing said input data, and a communication interface that is coupled to the processing unit for communicating with a second computing device. The at least one sensor, the processing unit and the communication interface are arranged in the wig and at least partly covered by the wig in order to be visually hidden during use.”

The rest of the application offers up some of the other features this chip-filled hairpiece would offer, including a GPS chip, tactile feedback signals (think vibrations when you receive a message, or are heading in the right direction toward a GPS-located destination), and, say, a laser pointer, just for the hell of it.

Yes, a laser pointer embedded in your SmartWig.

The patent application was filed in May, but it was just published online today. The important thing to keep in mind regarding this patent is that there’s little to no chance that you’ll be able to actually buy a SmartWig at Best Buy anytime soon—or really anytime ever.. That’s because lots of companies tend to patent for anything and everything that might ever become an actual product. In this case, I can imagine a world in which some kind of computer-powered headgear finds its way into some kind of consumer product somehow, someday. Better that Sony have that locked down, right? I’m sure that’s the rationale here.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Sony has long wanted to court the folliclly-challenged, and this SmartWig is their first foray into numerous baldness-related products.

Can you imagine how different Star Trek: The Next Generation would’ve looked if the SmartWig actually existed?


Ladies and gentlemen: the future.


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