Nokia seeks patent for 'tattoos' to tell you who's calling

I love tattoos and I love my cellphone, but I'm not sure how I feel about the two of them being combined. That's exactly what Nokia is seeking to do with its new patent application — to create a ferromagnetic ink that when placed on your skin would communicate with your phone.

The idea is that a demagnetized ink would be imprinted on your skin and then re-magnetized. At that point it would be receptive to magnetic changes or signals sent from your phone and cause a "stimulus" to your skin.

In other words, your arm (or other body part) would vibrate to let you know you had a call.

There are some obvious upsides to this potential new technology. You could get calls in meetings or school or what-have-you without anyone noticing. And theoretically you could assign a different magnetic signal and resulting stimulus for individual callers if you are a compulsive screener. (As I write this, I am becoming more interested in how this would work.)

It should be pointed out the special ink may simply be "applied" to the skin much like you would apply a temporary or henna tattoo. The patent isn't specific as to whether it has to be permanent or not, so maybe it isn't as hardcore as it first sounds.

My guess would be that the preferred method would be temporary to allow for changing numbers and assignment of different stimuli for different magnetic signals or callers. Anything else might simply be too difficult to program.

Then there is the question of what happens when you do receive a stimulus. Does the stimulus stop after a certain period of time if you can't pick up the phone? What happens at night when you don't want to receive stimuli? Do you have to buy into a plan for all of this?

Okay, clearly I'm getting ahead way of myself. And, way ahead of Nokia. After all, this is only the application for a patent and not fully fleshed out technology yet.

One thing is for sure, though: I was on the fence about it when I first heard about it but now out of sheer curiosity I'd probably sign up for the trials.

Unwired View, via Tecca and Engadget

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