Nokia has filed a patent for "a material attachable to skin, the material capable of detecting a magnetic field and transferring a perceivable stimulus to the skin, wherein the perceivable stimulus relates to the magnetic field." Translated from patent-lawyer language to english, what that means is that Nokia wants you to be able to receive vibrations and haptic feedback directly on your body from your phone and other devices.
The patent covers many different types of visible or invisible devices which could attach to the skin, including signs, labels, and even tattoos!
The patent mentions that the feedback felt would be related to "...an indication of information displayed on the electronic device, indication of an incoming call, indication of a body part in proximity of the electronic device..." An example might be a signal sent out to let users know of nearby helpful landmarks or people.
Thinking about it, such a device might be of particular use to the disabled. Our new electronic landscape has primarily favored the sense of sight as a way to interact, but new devices that favor our sense of touch or the devices implied by the Nokia patent that could simulate touch, might bring those who are seeing-impaired further into the digital future. I'm imagining these tattoos or patches on fingertips, providing access to an invisible layer of braille imbedded into digital text.
A tattoo that saves me from the embarrassment of having my phone go off in a movie theatre would be nice, but I can also imagine the havoc that could ensue once hackers get ahold of the frequency. How about you? Are you ready to take this first small step towards augmented humanity?