According to a US Patent and Trademark Office application, Sony has applied for a patent that describes a “SmartWig” that’s able to cover at least part of a person’s head, and is able to acquire data and communicate with other connected devices.
The SmartWig can be made from horse hair, human hair, wool, feathers, yak hair, buffalo hair or any other kind of synthetic material. The wig will be embedded with sensors such as GPS and tactile sensors that can be used to acquire location data or even blood pressure readings.
“Wearable gadgets are definitely going to be one of the big areas of growth over the next two years,” Andrew Milroy, an analyst with consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, said in an interview with the BBC.
“And Sony – which is trying to regain some of the sheen it has lost in recent years – clearly understands that and wants to play a major role in the sector.”
The idea of a SmartWig sounds totally absurd to be quite frank, but according to Sony there’s method in its madness. As the company points out, the head area is more sensitive than other parts of the body such as the wrist, foot, or waist, making it the best area to place a wearable computer. Plus, people instinctively protect their head more than any other part of their body, something that gives the SmartWig a huge advantage over other types of wearable tech, as people will be more careful with the device, especially when its embedded with lots of fragile sensors that can easily be damaged.
Also, wigs can useful (at least for baldies), and some people think they’re fashionable too, and so a SmartWig has the potential to become something people might use on a daily basis.
“The wig itself may have a fancy or funny appearance, but may also have an inconspicuous appearance so that other people in the surrounding of the user may not even take notice of the wearable computing device,” the patent stated.
An intelligent wig? Really?
Well, the SmartWig might appeal to all kinds of people in fact. For instance, those affected by baldness, those who are into cosplaying, or anyone else who enjoys wearing a wig now and then. Sony also aims to reach out to people with disabilities, such those with visual impairment, as the SmartWig can be embedded with a small camera and partnered with vibrating technology, to help guide them away from obstacles and harm.
The SmartWig can also play a huge role in the healthcare sector as it can be embedded with sensors that can gather data, such as blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature and other vital signs that would help determine if patients are experiencing pain or anything out of the normal.
Though sensors in wigs have yet to be used, Sony believes that this technology can greatly revolutionize the wearable tech sensor. It can replace other wearable technology or alternatively, work in tandem with smartglasses and smartwatches, not too mention smartphones and tablets.
Sony also describes using the SmartWig for presentations – for example, a wearer could “move to the next presentation slide or back to the preceding presentation slide by simply raising his/her eyebrows.”
There’s another use for SmartWig which Sony did not touch upon. It can possibly be used for something in the line of augmented reality. The wig could be be embedded with a tiny projector so you can see images in projected onto a wall, and with the use of a smartwatch, be able to manipulate the images it projects.
No news yet if Sony plans on commercially producing the SmartWig.
Main image credit: Paolo Margari via photopin cc
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