back to article Google patent: THROAT TATTOO with lie-detecting mobe microphone built-in

Google's Motorola Mobility division has filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a "system and method" to tattoo a mobile-device microphone with lie-detector circuitry onto your throat. Illustration from Motorola 'Electronic Skin Tattoo' patent application The next must-have bit of body adonment for …


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  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge


    Not likely. It is a Tattoo for heavens sake. Besides, get one of these and you have joined the Borg. Now question. Fully paid up twat.... Sorry wrong crap company.

    If I were ever to be crazy enough to get a tattoo it might look like this ----------------->

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      How absolutely ridiculous.

      Guaranteed strip search followed by a cavity search every time you try to get on a plane.

      It was bad enough when idiots copied bar codes onto themselves, Chinese characters they don't understand and verse from poems they have never read.

      Microchips under the skin like my dog?

      Embedded battery under the skin with a USB socket in your ear?

      Solar panel charger built into you head?

      Or is this being used to head off Apple?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: WTF

        Solar panel charger built into you head?

        Given my propensity for wearing hats, helmets and/or hoods and spending much of my time in shade anyway, I'd imagine such a device would fail spectacularly in my situation.

      2. lunatik96

        Re: WTF

        So you haven't seen that syfy classic - plughead. While the premise was interesting the movie wasn't. Johnny Mnemonic was much better.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Steve Davies 3 - Re: Removal?

      No, you don't get it! You will be forced to wear it by some court decision. Worst case scenario, some day you will not be accepted anywhere if you can't show you wear one. What a beautiful future where everybody will be forced the speak the truth! Just trust the governments on this one.

      1. anatak

        Re: @Steve Davies 3 - Removal?

        I vote to have our esteemed leaders (aka politicians) be outfitted with these immediately.

        and as a bonus there should be some physical discomforter feed back mechanism that activates when lying is detected.

        I can hear the sound of all the politicians speeches already.

        1. Fink-Nottle

          Re: @Steve Davies 3 - Removal?

          and as a bonus there should be some physical discomforter feed back mechanism that activates when lying is detected.

          I'd like to see a feedback mechanism that regulates the amount of nasal cartilage growth hormone in the bloodstream.

          1. Captain DaFt

            Re: @Steve Davies 3 - Removal?

            "I'd like to see a feedback mechanism that regulates the amount of nasal cartilage growth hormone in the bloodstream"

            And in the future, Politicians, salesmen and lawyers will be known as 'tripods'.

      2. croc

        Re: @Steve Davies 3 - Removal?

        Gives a whole new image to the question - "Honey, do I \ does this _____(fill in the blanks...)?"

        1. albaleo

          Re: @Gives a whole new image

          And would that image be a picture of George Clooney or Brad Pitt or whoever she's thinking of?

  2. jerry 4

    I know functional watch tattoos have been the subject of science fiction stories since at least 1972:

    ...years ago, when Ron was flush with money from the sale of the engraved beer bottles, he'd bought an implant-watch. He told time by one red mark and two red lines glowing beneath the skin of his wrist.

    From Cloak of Anarchy, by Larry Niven.

    Published by Analog in 1972

  3. K

    Won't be much good for "Real Men"..

    Cause real men only shave once a week!

    In all seriousness, this is an interesting and awesome idea.. but it won't for for me, just to much stubble :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Won't be much good for "Real Men"..

      I'm really tempted to post a 'Your Mom' comment in response, but I won't.

  4. Brian Miller

    Something for politicians!

    Now, if only we could get these onto the necks of politicians, I think we'd have a much better government. Of course, they might need to be tranquilized and tagged first.

  5. Kalmairn

    I remember one time...

    ...when the Chair of the USPTO said there were no more new ideas and closed his office. He was partly right, at least in this case. This is hardly "new", and barely at all useful.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Welcome to 'The Borg'....

    Resistance is Futile! Our genetic superiors aren't content to just corrupt the world, they're actively working to enslave us all. Nice news on a Friday!

  7. noem

    It doesn't sound permanent

    From the patent application:

    "...can be applied to a region of the body via an adhesive"

    This sounds similar to a temporary tattoo or could describe a sticker where the circuitry is either deposited directly on the skin or attached to a flexible substrate secured to the skin. It hardly sounds permanent.

    What makes this useful? / Why would I want this?

    Currently using voice controls requires pulling out your device and speaking your query aloud. This is bad because the query is audible to those around you (makes you look like a prat) and the source of the query is ambiguous (could really be anyone in the room/noise). A throat mic removes both of these problems, it can pickup a mumble (inaudible to others) and the device can be sure that you issued the command. For a device with similar capabilities as the moto x or nexus 5 with always on voice via "ok google" command, paired with a wireless headphone or bone conduction (bone conduction is best as it does not interfere with normal hearing) and the throat mic the benefits are obvious. Simply speak to yourself under your breath and the query is answered (reads google now cards with tts) without removing the device. It basically covers all the times you had to type in a query because speaking aloud wasn't appropriate/feasible or not worth the effort of pulling the device out. You could do the same with an off the shelf throat mic, but they are rather bulky, this device has the advantage of remaining relatively nondescript.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It doesn't sound permanent

      What they don't say is that the adhesive (pat pending) gradually melds itself with your skin. Not the epidermis but the dermis. As it is on your neck and close to major arteries/veins there will be a great reluctance for surgeons to remove said device. Thus it becomes a permanent device.

      Just the next step IMHO.

  8. C. P. Cosgrove

    Good in parts !

    The best bit about this article was the mention of 'Arrogant Bastard'.

    I'll drink to that !

    Chris Cosgrove

  9. mraak

    Is it every day now?

    Every day Google in news coming up with something ridiculous. Barges, glassholes, balloons, this thing, pill to live forever,...

    Is this some weird PR push or what??

    1. Adam 1

      Re: Is it every day now?

      Maybe ridiculous. But then again, did anyone predict 15 years ago that today you would be able to get on your phone for directions anywhere with actual photos of the streets you are driving on a screen with as many pixels as the most expensive digital cameras all by talking to it?

      Or that Nokia and Motorola would be eating the crumbs dropped by a fruity seller of fashion conscious PCs and a company who sells fridges?

      Lots of things that make no sense today will be ubiquitous in another decade. Except we still won't have flying cars. :(

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  11. frank ly

    How good are throat microphones?

    Much of the detail of the sound of the sound of the human voice is produced by the shaping of the tongue and the lips and we hear the sounds that come out of the mouth through the air. Does a microphone on the surface of the throat actually sound any good?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: How good are throat microphones?

      Well, Panzer commanders used them to great effect in WW2. Allowed them to be heard over the noise of their tanks. The thing about throat mics is that even though your mouth shapes the soundforms, the whole waveform echoes through your skull and back down your throat.

      A similar technique, IIRC, is used in the artificial larynx, used by people who have lost their natural larynx through disease or injury.

      1. TheRealRoland

        Re: How good are throat microphones?

        mmmm. oh no it's coming straight for us! mmm.

        I'll get my coat ;-)

  12. David Walker

    Beep beep beep

    Entertain me Google Thrall. I will pay 1000 Quatloos.

  13. Tom Westheimer

    This has to have come from The Onion or was registered on April 1st ?


  14. richard_w

    Thinking outside the box a bit, this idea would be useful for hearing impaired people. If you are hard of hearing, a major issue is speech in noisy environments. Various devices are around but they are big and clumsy. You could imagine an environment where the throat microphone signal is transmitted via a smartphone to another bluetooth hearing aid. You need the smartphone to run an app to provide better quality speech etc.

  15. Riviera Kid

    Brilliant idea

    Brilliant idea

    ok.... before anyone starts lambasting me, hear me out. Primarily its a brilliant idea used approriately. I think when the user has the tattoo put on the throat there ought to be a second part to the procedure, this is a series of L.E.D lamps (for low energy use of course and to cut down their carbon footprint and all that other bollocks) these said lamps should spell the word 'LIAR' and be surgically implanted in the users forehead, so when it is ascertained that the user is in deed a LIAR, the LED's will light up !!... and thinking on the take it a step further, implant a sound system in the users head, so not only do we get the visual LIAR sign, it can play a fanfair and induce an electric shock, so the politician...errr..sorry....user dances around like a lunatic so everyone around knows the user is a LIAR. Furthermore, these systems should be compulsory for every single politician, banker, CEO of every utility company, estate agents, lawyers, solicitors and every BBC presenter coming in contact with children .... I would value your input :)

  16. Nya

    Goat fetish

    So when you ordered your tattoo did they know you wanted to attach one to your bleating one?

    1. Riviera Kid

      Re: Goat fetish

      oooooo..... touched a nerve did I? I guess yours was attached to your funny bone, which obviously caused a sense of humour by-pass.... get over it and get a sense of humour !!!!

  17. Jan 0 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    AE van Vogt got this right.

    Why have a throat tatoo, when you can just have the circuit sprayed through your skull?

  18. MrXavia

    I see a perfect use for the tattoo, make it mandatory for any politician, refusal means dismissal.

    That way we know for sure when our politicians actually say something truthful, rather than have to guess what is a lie and what is not...

  19. Richard Scratcher


    Why call it a "skin tattoo" when it is nothing like a skin tattoo?

    I think a more accurate name would be an "iridescent submersible combine harvester flan".

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Google is trying to create the Borg

    I think maybe a little update of the Reg icons may be in order between the Glasses and now this...

    Whatever happened to that Bill Gates as Borg icon? Surely that can easily be updated with Larry Page?

  21. MainframeBob

    Do liedectors even work?

    Hasn't it been proved that 'liedetectors' can't tell if people are lying?

    What is being described here will tell that if you are nerveous (jobapplication?) you are lying, but it will not catch a trained used-cars dealer.

  22. Crisp

    Lie detector? Galvanic skin response?

    Someone at Google/Motorola doesn't know how the human body works apparently.

  23. ForthIsNotDead


    Transhumanist demons.

  24. tony2heads

    truth tatoo

    Men can get beards. Women might have a problem

    Icon: this is how we will end up looking like

  25. Sheep!

    "Thank you very much, but if I want to phone my boss to say I'm home sick with the flu when I'm actually kicking back with a cheap hard-boiled detective novel and a pint or two of Arrogant Bastard, I don't want my phone ratting on me."

    Probably best not to include the idea in an article your boss edits before publishing either....

  26. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    For pets too?

    For all I know my cat has one already. He doesn't shave often.

  27. DrGoon

    Forward thinking

    Google is doing the right thing from a corporate perspective. The world is headed this way anyhow, so they may as well get the patents in for the technology that we'll all be compelled to use. They're keeping the more sinister and evil stuff under wraps for now lest we think that they're not jolly nice people.

  28. Peeeeter

    "it's often difficult to carry on a clear conversation using a mobile phone". Well, go to a quieter place then...

    Don't mess around with my body. Period. The only advantage of this Patent is that it keeps other lunatics to do the same thing, so we can concentrate on Google's quirks.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      It's hard to carry on a clear conversation using a mobile phone EVEN IN A QUIET ENVIRONMENT. Wind and breath, for starters. That's why throat mics. They're immune to wind and resistant to ambient noise, which was why they were used in World War 2 in tanks.

      "Don't mess around with my body. Period." Well, don't put the bloody thing on. It's not like it's going to be permanently grafted under your skin. It's just a stick-on throat mic (the "tattoo" is actually temporary, like the kiddy "tattoos").

  29. annodomini2
    Black Helicopters

    One for the tinfoilers

    It's not just the 'lie detection', if it is using Subvocal recognition.

    In theory they could be reading your 'thoughts', at least the ones where you are talking to yourself.

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