The publication of Google’s patent for a “tatoo” the size of a postage stamp or a Band-Aid to be worn on the throat or collar could be a signal for yet more advances into health care. In a 10-page document describing the patent, the device is described as one through which users could communicate with their devices via voice commands. It also could be used as a lie detector when including a “galvanic skin response detector.”
The big question for us in mental health is yet more intriguing. Might Google tatoo be used for other behavioral and mental health applications, such as those involving biofeedback? More germane to this TMHI blog, how can Google tatoo be applied to biometric authentication in telemental health?
CNN reported that last week, Google-owned Motorola Mobility has filed for a patent, for a new technology:
…that comprises an electronic skin tattoo capable of being applied to a throat region of a body. The patent says the tattoo would communicate with smartphones, gaming devices, tablets and wearable tech like Google Glass via a Bluetooth-style connection and would include a microphone and power source. The idea is that wearers could communicate with their devices via voice commands without having to wear an earpiece or the the Glass headset…Optionally, the electronic skin tattoo can further include a galvanic skin response detector to detect skin resistance of a user … It is contemplated that a user that may be nervous or engaging in speaking falsehoods may exhibit different galvanic skin response than a more confident, truth telling individual.
What Might Google Tatoo Mean for Telemental Health?
Biofeedback specialists will undoubtedly be considering how such an easily transportable device can be adapted to various behavioral and mental health applications.
For those of you who’ve read the scientific evidence base calling for the increased need for biometric authentication (verification) devices for telehealth, this particular patent might set your mind a buzz. This device might be one small step away from the vice-print biometric authentication device described in the telemental health literature as a viable option to verifying the identity of users. (Maheu, Pulier, McMenamin & Poesn, 2012).
For other recent blog posts:
- Google Glass for Gait Improvement
- Google Agrees to Sign BAA for HIPAA Compliance
Maheu, Marlene M.; Pulier, Myron L.; McMenamin, Joseph P.; Posen, Les. (2012). Future of Telepsychology, Telehealth, and Various Technologies in Research and Practice, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 43(6), 613-621.
Maheu, M. M., Pulier, M. L., Wilhelm, F. H., McMenamin, J., & Brown-Connolly, N. (2004). The mental health professional and the new technologies: A handbook for practice today. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.