Nokia is envisioning a future in which magnetic tattoos will alert Smartphone owners of incoming calls and texts. Even with advances in Smartphone technology, there isn’t an existing Smartphone that alerts incoming calls or texts without loud rings or almost unnoticeable vibrations. Nokia now wants to deal with the loud rings but still enable users feel minute vibrations on skin tattoos whenever there is an incoming call or text. Emerging mobile technologies and enhancements such as tactile feedback and surfaces that change to mimic physical keys could eventually redefine the virtual keyboard experience for millions of users of devices ranging from smartphones to tablets and touch-screen PCs.
Nokia’s new technology features a haptic communication system that includes a special ferromagnetic ink tattoo, worn on the body or painted on the skin, capable of detecting a magnetic field and emitting vibrations with options for different kinds of haptic feedbacks. The material could be attached to the forearm for detecting a range of magnetic vibrations, including user customized options. Alternatively, if the forearm attachment seems unappealing, users could have the material as temporary magnetic spray, stamp or sticky decal. Nokia envisions that a Smartphone will detect different magnetic fields and cause different effects from its characteristics.
The resultant vibration could be one short pulse, multiple short pulses, a few long pulses, combined short and long pulses, strong pulses and weak pulses. The different magnetic field options may for instance arise out of different components of the phone menu emitting varying magnetic fields. Users could customize different vibrations for call or text alerts from specific individuals. For instance, a weaker series of long pulses could be customized to signal low phone battery power etc. Separately, touch specialist Synaptics is also working on technologies that will allow touchscreens to mimic the feel of a physical keypad, in order to make smartphones easier to use.