Cam Finlayson is a Director, Client Strategy & Innovation at Social Media Group. Follow @CamFinlayson
Rumour has it that Nokia is currently working on a new product idea that will ensure you never miss an important call or email. The patent, filed by Nokia back in September, outlines a device consisting of thin material that can be applied to the skin that will vibrate when triggered by a magnetic field sent via a device such as a smartphone. Or, as some folks on the internet are calling it: a vibrating tattoo.
When you break it down, this is got to be one of the wackiest product ideas in a long time. It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that Nokia is looking into any and all opportunities to make up some of the valuable ground lost to Apple, Blackberry and Google over the last ten years.
Personally, I’m of two minds about Nokia’s product idea. From a tech standpoint I’ve gotta say that the concept is pretty cool. However, it does raise some concerning questions regarding where technology can lead us.
What’s most unsettling to me about this idea is how it illustrates our desire to stay connected and a growing dependency on smartphones. Have we actually come to a point where the anxiety of missing an incoming call or email has led to the need for this type of product?
I hope we’re not there yet, and if I’m right the market for this type of product will be quite small. That said, as smartphone adoption reaches critical mass, the lines between technology and culture begin to blur.
First, it was the infamous Crackberry that stole our 9-to-5 workday and cleverly redefined our understanding of work-life balance. Now we have a Finnish phone maker attempting to reinvent how we stay connected with their devices.
To put things in perspective, I encourage you to try a little experiment. Over the weekend, try to go a day without your mobile phone. If that’s not realistic, try to go for a couple of hours.
Those of you that keep your phone in your pocket or close by 24/7, will likely experience something really freaky: at some point you’ll either think you hear your phone ringing or will feel the sensation of your phone vibrating. This is commonly known as Phantom Vibration Syndrome—a fact that I learned a couple of months ago during a self-diagnosis with the help of Google.
For those of you eagerly waiting for Nokia to market this vibrating tattoo, count me out; I’m having a hard enough time dealing with the phantom ringing in my leg.