Technology with attitude

Sony files patent for a brainwave-reading ‘SmartWig’

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We’ve got smartphones, smartwatches and other wearable devices, but Sony is probably planning to revolutionize the field of consumer electronics. Reportedly, the Japanese electronics company is working on a “heads-up” technology dubbed a ‘SmartWig’ with sensors to detect things like blood pressure and brainwaves.

As a U.S. patent filed by Sony shows, the wearable wig could be used in a number of practical ways, such as helping blind people navigate without any extra assistance. The company said the device could also come in handy for the video gaming industry.

Details of the future product has been revealed by a paper entitled “SmartWig: wig-based wearable computing device for communication and entertainment” written by Sony computer scientist Hiroaki Tobita and Takuya Kuzi of the University of Electro-communications in Tokyo.

The SmartWig will monitor body temperature, blood pressure and brainwaves and can also record sounds and images to allow wearers to playback their day and see what set their systems aflutter.

Sony SmartWig - Image credit - AFP Photo - Hiroaki Tobita - Sony CSL - Full

“There is a wide variety of wearable computing devices, such as computational glasses, clothes, shoes, and so on. However, most wearable devices have become neither common nor popular,” the developers said in an essay issued last year.

“The goal of SmartWig is to achieve both natural and practical wearable devices,” said Hiroaki Tobita and Takuya Kuzi, adding the “natural appearance” of their invention which can be made from human hair could prove a selling point.

The patent application also said it could be useful in the gaming industry as a virtual reality device and could be hooked up to WiFi, Bluetooth and radio transceivers.

A patent for a SmartWig does not mean consumers can expect to don the cranial accessory any time soon. The technology behind the device is still in a “fundamental research stage and it has not been decided whether to commercialize the technology or not,” a Sony Europe spokesperson said.