What Is Google’s Patented Throat Tattoo Microphone?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsWhat Is Google’s Patented Throat Tattoo Microphone?
RFID Journal Staff asked 6 years ago

Can you please provide information about the tattoo and its connection with RFID?

—Name withheld

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The so-called “throat tattoo” for which Google has filed a patent application is actually not a tattoo at all, but rather a durable thin film substrate with electronics that can be applied to a person’s throat. It contains a microphone, a Bluetooth transceiver and a power source. The idea is that if a user spoke in a noisy environment or in hushed tones, the microphone would pick up the sounds from that person’s vocal cords and transmit them to his or her smartphone via Bluetooth.

There have been efforts to develop similar types of wearable electronics that contain sensors and communicate via radio frequency identification (see Wearable RFID Tags). As populations age in industrial countries, it will be increasingly important to monitor patients remotely. The idea is to attach sensors to the skin that can detect, say, glucose levels in a person’s blood and report on significant changes wirelessly without the need for a battery. RFID is preferable to Bluetooth since it requires no battery, but would not work in the Google application because a user would need a power source to energize the passive RFID device, and would never be able to achieve enough energy to power the microphone and the Bluetooth device.

—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal

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