Japanese electronics tycoon Sony, Inc recently filed a US Patent Application for a computerized hairpiece, aptly dubbed the “SmartWig”. The wearable technology is set to be outfitted with an array of integrated devices including, but not limited to, a camera, laser-pointer and ultrasound sensors. Additionally, it is anticipated that the hairpiece will be capable of acting as an intelligent proximity sensor of sorts, employing sonar technology to help the user navigate through their daily life.
While the concept itself is indeed a strange one, the SmartWig prospect does propose some unique attributes for wearers who might benefit from bodily monitoring. For those suffering from various pulmonary complications like heart murmurs, arrhythmia or even high blood pressure, the device could theoretically be a very useful aid in actively analyzing an ongoing condition. If Sony ultimately pursues the design and takes it a step further, it could potentially be useful for gathering data on a host of other medically-related occurrences as well. For someone living with chronic migraines or cluster headaches that seem to arrive without warning, the SmartWig might be able to help determine root causes by identifying recurring patterns that lead to the arrival of the respective conditions. It sounds far-fetched, but it is certainly not out of the question.
What might be out of the question, however, is attracting the interest of a sustainable target-user group. Natural hair restoration surgeries are on the rise, and with that, the wig is continuing to delve into a meager existence in the modern era; it is certainly not the fashion statement that it once was in the high-class vogue of yesteryear. Having an advanced chipset in your hair also begs the question: what happens if it starts raining? Also, are people going to have to worry about getting their hair stolen on the subway? With an unconventional gadget, come unconventional problems.
It seems inevitable that wearable computing devices are destined to further infiltrate the modern lifestyle as technology continues to progress and become more versatile. However, the idea of a wig is certainly a strange one compared to other advancements like Bluetooth headsets, smartwatches and Google Glass. It will be interesting to see if Sony ultimately pursues production of this device, or if the patent is really just a cover for something groundbreaking.