10 Weird Patents That Google Owns

Throat Tattoo Microphone With Optional Lie Detector
Is this what you'll have to do to get a microphone tattooed on your throat? © Boris Roessler/dpa/Corbis

The animated TV series "Futurama" once jokingly suggested that future smartphone users would have an "eye-Phone" attached to their eyeballs, but Google's idea of implanting a microphone in users' throats isn't that much more far-out of a notion.

The 2012 application by Google's Motorola Mobility subsidiary, titled "Coupling an Electronic Skin Tattoo to a Mobile Communication Device," would attach a digital tattoo — essentially, a tiny printed circuit — to the skin on the outside of a user's throat. (For those who associate neck tattoos with prison gangs, the device also could be embedded in a collar or necklace.)

The tiny device would include both a microphone and a wireless transmitter, for relaying the sound of the user's voice to a smartphone or other device. According to the patent application, such an implant would be advantageous because it would reduce background noise, so that "communication can reasonably be improved"[source: Alberth].

And if that's not exotic enough, there's more. Optionally, the throat tattoo could be configured to light up whenever the user's throat muscles flex. In addition, the designers say they also could include a galvanic skin response sensor, which would enable the device to function as a lie detector [sources: Alberth, Myslewski, Schreier].