In the new smartphone-obsessed world we live in, the technology industry is quickly seeking a way for people to use their devices without having to actually pick up their devices. Bluetooth, smart watches, and Google Glasses are all advancements to that end, but the next innovation goes far beyond that. Google-owned Motorola has patented technology for an "electronic skin tattoo" that would be placed near a person's throat. "They will tattoo somebody's neck, and that will be the communication device and receiver, so you don't have to physically pick up the phone," says High Tech Texan Michael Garfield. "You can leave your phone in your purse, your pocket, your briefcase, and when you feel a little vibration on your throat you can just answer with hello."
The electronic neck tattoo would use the same wireless technology as Bluetooth or smartwatches, and could connect to smartphones, tablet computers, or even gaming devices, according to the patent. It would also contain a microphone, so you could control your devices with voice commands. Garfield admits that this technology is still a bit far off from coming to a store (or tattoo parlor) near you, since it's only in the patenting stage. However, similar technology is already being used in other areas. "Veterinarians are implanting chips inside cats and dogs, where if the animal gets lost, they can put a little wand over it and find all the information," says Garfield.
The idea of anything connected to an electronic signal implanted under the skin raises concerns about how that technology could be used to track people. Garfield thinks that stage has already passed. "At some point, we as consumers are going to have to calm down," he says. "The fact is, right now we already know we're tracked, if you have a cell phone, whether it's tattooed on or not." Nevertheless, don't expect the electronic neck tattoo to catch on anytime soon. "I think it's going to be awhile," says Garfield. "Number one for the tattoo technology to come around, and then the acceptance and actually the courage for people to get a neck tattoo to communicate."
Listen to the High-Tech Texan Michael Garfield weekdays from 12-2pm and Saturdays 11am - 2pm on KPRC AM 950