Sony Corp., which for a long time is a synonym for quality of electronic products, is seeking a US patent for “SmartWig” hairpieces that according to the company could help navigate roads, check blood pressure or flip through slides in a presentation.
The wig device communicates through wireless signal with another device and may give vibrations as a feedback, Sony said in the filing with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Depending on the model, the hairpiece may include a camera, laser pointer or global positioning system sensor, it said.
“It’s an interesting idea but I think it would be very difficult for Sony to commercialize,” said to Bloomberg Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. in Tokyo. “Who will want to use this wig will become a problem.”
Sony made three prototypes, including the Presentation Wig that has a laser point and can change PowerPoint slides by pulling left and right on the device. The Navigation Wig uses a GPS and vibration to direct the user, while the Sensing Wig gathers information from inside the body such as temperature and blood pressure, Takahashi, Tokyo-based spokeswoman for Sony, said. Sony even says the wigs could be worn by couples.
“If one user touches one of his/her vibration motors, the other users equivalent motor may vibrate,” the patent says.
The device was invented by Hiroaki Tobita, who works at Sony Computer Science Laboratories Inc., and the application for patent was made on May 10.
As tech giants invest billions in an attempt to come up with the next technology miracle, Motorola has recently filed a patent for a tattoo which would be placed onto a persons throat and pick sounds created by their voice. If the user wants to call somebody, the tattoo would then send these sounds wirelessly to the smartphone and the caller. The patent was originally filed in May last year.
Motorola named the device “electronic tattoo 110” and said the tattoo’s built-in microphone could pick up the sounds made by a person’s voice by reading vibrations and fluctuations of muscle or tissue from their voicebox.
Sony has been studying new wearable devices as well as customers’ needs for them, Chief Executive Officer Kazuo Hirai told reporters in October. The maker of Xperia handsets has said it’s considering applying its image sensors to wearable computers and hand-gesture TVs as it expects smartphone revenue to peak in about 2015.
Shares of Sony rose 1.1% to 1,869 yen in Tokyo trading. The stock has gained 95% so far this year, outperforming the 45% advance for the benchmark Topix index.