Today a tattoo is a popular way of showing off a little individuality, but historically tattoos were used as a form of communication. Roman soldiers and slaves were tattooed on the hands, arms or even face as a way to alert those around them to their status, allowing authorities to more easily keep track of those in bondage.
Soon tattoos might be used for communication again -- but for a very different purpose. Nokia (NYSE: NOK) has filed a patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) for a magnetic tattoo that could alert the "wearer" to incoming calls or messages to their mobile device. The application was first uncovered by Unwired View. While this may sound like science fiction, it is likely technology that will one day be commonplace -- the question is when.
The Nokia patent application is also an indication that technology that we now carry in our pockets could soon be attached to our bodies.
"I never rule out the prospect for any wearable or implantable technology," futurist Glen Hiemstra, founder of Futurist.com, told NewsNewWorld. "It is very hard to predict whether people would use it, but it is certainly a step in that direction. What we're seeing is a move from clothing-wearable to body-wearable IT devices, and I would assume there could be a market for that."
This could also be the beginning of implanted devices. "Technology will get to the point where it will be implanted into your skin, in your ear or on your wrist," said telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan. "This will change the way we interact with our devices and we won't have to carry them. But that's still several years down the road."
Moreover, this may not just be about a tattoo, but rather the beginning of the convergence of a multitude of technologies. Factor this in with Moore's Law, which anticipates devices that are smaller, more powerful and cheaper, and the possibilities become quite interesting.