Oh, Google, you've done it again: The latest patent by Google's Motorola division threatens to invent, and we quote, an "electronic skin tattoo." It was probably a bad idea to use the word "tattoo," Google, since the device is really more of a choker or collar for the throat, and now the entire Internet is up in arms that Google wants to inscribe "F YOU APPLE" on your neck. (Which they don't.)
What Google is hoping to (maybe) invent is a sort of personal mic for your cellphone, which sits on your neck and cuts out background noise for better voice reception — and works as a lie detector to boot. Apparently Google thought they'd just sling that last caveat out there, because ... why not.
The mic would come equipped with a sensor that could pick up on a person's tone of voice as a lie detector would, so it'd be possible to set the mic to confirm whether or not you're telling the truth. Sure, it's a creepy add-on to an already weird product, but Google, genius that it is, believes that one day we might actually want to mine one another's voices for lies.
Let's be clear: Most patents never become product. Google files hundreds of pre-emptive patents every year, just so if they decide they do want to push for an out-of-the-box product — take Google Glass, for example, which still strikes us as very Minority Report — they won't have any competitors. (Steve Jobs once filed for a patent that wouldn't let you unlock your phone unless you listened to an ad first.)
Indeed, some of Google's other patents include ideas like a sensor that recognizes the user making a "heart" symbol with their hands (so that the action can be turned into a social-media "like") and a gesture-controlled Google Car. None of these things will probably come to fruition. Probably.
But let's skip forward five or ten years, when we may or may not be surrounded by robots and wear little watches that monitor our every move. One day, it may not seem as weird to wear a choker that allows you to talk on the phone, hands-free, without any worry for background noise. Hell, you might not even have a leave a room to make a call — the mic could be so attuned to your voice, you could whisper what you're saying and be perfectly audible to the person on the other end of the phone.
In that world, Google might unleash the product, and make a ton of money, because it'd be illegal for anyone to replicate the technology. And the lie-detection part? Well, maybe we'll all be hooked up to lie detectors by then... or maybe we won't, and Google will just leave that one out.
So, what other bizarre products has Google applied for a patent for? Well, there's an anatomical amusement ride; an animated paperweight; a ... whistle headdress. Oh, and that little matter of trying to stave off death. In fact, there's a whole Tumblr dedicated to Google's wackiest patients, which you can find for your "WTF" enjoyment here.