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Nokia brings phantom rings to life through vibrating tattoos

By Angel Mendez
On April 11, 2012

No more noisy, default ringtones. Nokia has a patent in the works to bring those phantom rings to life by sending a silent vibration from your cell phone to your body.

The mobile phone developer filed the patent last September that involves using a magnetic badge or tattoo on the body that would receive a "perceivable stimulus" during an incoming call, text or dead battery, according to the Huffington Post. 

Each of these methods could even be programmed to emit different vibration patterns depending on who's calling. That "Mom" tattoo might trigger when she texts you saying, "Dinner's ready."

With the tattoo industry on the rise, linking cell phones to this growing trend may be the right move. First released by Unwired View, the patent illustrates using ferromagnetic ink heated at a high temperature to demagnetize it. Then, the ink will be applied to the skin in any design and re-magnetized to activate the connection between the skin and the cell phone.

For Maggie Ivich, a junior fashion marketing and management major, she said despite her eight tattoos, she knows her next one will not be so extreme.

"I'm so connected, and I like to stay linked in all the time," Ivich said. "I think it's a little extreme to have it in my skin."

Dean Jones, co-owner of "Living on Canvas", a local tattoo parlor, said even if the majority of tattoo fanatics liked the idea, the patent has a long way to go. Any procedure that deals with implementing subcutaneous content must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

"I don't think it's safe to implant any type of magnetic material or any heavy metal of any kind," Jones said. "It's not safe to be inside your body."

Jones said if the patent does get approved, the parlor always stays on the cutting edge and will retrain the artists to incorporate the new procedure. Without knowing the exact overhead costs, Jones said he could predict that the fee for this type of tattoo would run much higher than the regular skin art. He said he's more concerned about a customer having an adverse reaction or dolling out too much trust to a large corporation.

"I think you're giving someone else access, and a huge corporation at that, the control of your body," Jones said. "That's not the way for anybody to go."

Before permanently setting themselves on vibrate, fans of the tattoo world and those who just literally want to be "attached to the hip" with their phones will have time to let the idea sink in. Only at its patent stage, the phantom rings will be as real as it gets.

Visit the Video Tab for the interview with Dean Jones and a look inside the patent's science.


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