We're still not entirely convinced this isn't a really early April Fools' joke, but Sony appears to have filed a US patent for a vibrating, antenna-heavy 'Smart Wig.'
In the patent, which was originally uncovered by Kotaku, Sony lays out plans for a high-tech hairpiece kitted out with Wi-Fi antennas and tactile sensors and a GPS unit. At this point, you're probably having nightmares of people walking around the streets of your town with a range of electronics sprouting off the top of their dome. But fear not: Sony promises users can "wear the wearable computing device as a regular wig while looking natural at the same time."
In the filing, Sony explains the appeal of a wig as wearable tech (as opposed to a watch, for instance):
The usage of a wig has several advantages that, compared to known wearable computing devices, include a significantly increased user comfort and an improved handling of the wearable computing device. As the at least one sensor, the control unit and the communication interface are arranged in the wig, most of the components or all components of the wearable computing device are covered by the wig and are, thus, not visible.
Later, there is talk of an integrated video camera and the possibility of (and we're not making this up) "wig-to-wig communication," facilitated by "vibration actuators." Forget texting or e-mailing. In the future, we may chat with each other via our toupees.
In an interview this week with Bloomberg, Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. in Tokyo, called the wig "an interesting idea" that "would be very difficult for Sony to commercialize. Who will want to use this wig will become a problem."
Perhaps this is a preemptive patent – an attempt by Sony to get ahead of any competitors that might be mulling something similar? Stay tuned for more.