If you own a cellphone, there's a good chance you've encountered phantom vibrations; you know, when you could've sworn you felt your phone vibrating in your pocket when it really wasn't. Nokia's poised to either eliminate phantom vibrations completely or take them to new (and possibly somewhat creepy) heights with
a new patent application for haptic tattoos
that vibrate when your phone rings.
UnwiredView's Vlad Bobleanta
noticed the application almost a week ago
, but we noticed it when the article
hit the front page of Slashdot
earlier this morning. The theoretical process involves being tattooed with ferromagnetic inks that have been superheated in order to become demagnetized. (Another, less cool/frightening version involves an adhesive stuck to your skin.)
The inks then listen for specific magnetic fields emitted from your electronic device -- the patent lists mobile phones as a possible transmitter, but also a ton more, including laptops and game consoles -- and vibrates when it receives the signal. Nokia says it could be used to notify users not only about incoming calls and notifications, but also when, say, you launch an application or get too close to the transmitting device. The patent also says that different vibrations can be associated with different types of content, so you could theoretically shake one way when your significant other calls, another way when your grandma calls, and a third way when you receive a Facebook notification.
Nokia certainly is onto something interesting, but is it something you're interested in? Would you want to live in a world where your skin vibrates with every call and
homeless people have been transformed into wandering 4G hotspots
? No matter what your answer, we suggest
browsing through the patent
for an interesting read -- assuming you don't mind technicalese legal speak, that is.