Nokia is giving the phrase 'spine-tingling' a whole new meaning. The Finnish cellphone manufacturer has submitted a patent application for a magnetic tattoo (see below) that will tingle when your phone rings. It's the latest attempt to capitalize on haptic feedback technology, or technology that communicates through touch (a more familiar example is the rumbling of a Nintendo Wii controller). Here, a guide to Nokia's magnetic touch:
How does a magnetic tattoo work?
The tattoo ink is enriched with metallic compounds that will be demagnetized before the ink is embedded in the skin. Once the tattoo has healed, the ink will be re-magnetized with permanent magnets. Your tattoo will then be sensitive to magnetic pulses, which theoretically can be emitted by a cellular phone.
What will a ringing phone feel like?
The tattoo will crackle with a tingling sensation, and you'll have to scratch it to dismiss the call. Your phone should be able to send you a variety of pulses, so different degrees of tingling will indicate whether your phone battery is dying, or alert you to text and voice messages. You should even be able to use your tattoo as an alarm clock in the morning.
Is Nokia serious about this?
Yes. It might sound "like science fiction," says Peter Suciu at TechNewsWorld, but it's likely that this technology will become "commonplace" in the future. Even if Nokia never sells a cellphone-tattoo, the patent application is evidence that companies believe technology will eventually be merged with our bodies in some form or another. Nokia's patent could even be seen as a preemptive move to profit off an inventor who creates a similar innovation in the future.
Do people really want to be physically linked to their phones?
Maybe. It would "mean an end to the days when a silenced cellphone means missing calls and text messages during a movie or music concert," says InnovationNewsDaily. And "at least you can never lose a tattoo," says Jamie Condoiffe at Gizmodo. The main problem is whether your "tattoo would need to be modified when you upgraded to a different device," says Leslie Horn at PCMag.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The 11 worst fast food restaurants in America
- I hate Ayn Rand — but here's why my fellow conservatives love her
- 7 language habits that reveal your age
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- 7 things the world's happiest people do every day
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Britain has basically decriminalized internet piracy. The U.S. should, too.
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
- Why Peter Capaldi has a bigger challenge than any Doctor Who in history
- The biggest lesson Obama failed to learn from Bush
Subscribe to the Week