The Future of Wearables, According to Sony, Is a Smart Wig (With Lasers!)

File this under technology we never really asked for.

Sony’s smartwatch may be less than two months old, but a patent application suggests the company’s already thinking of branching out into other wearables–namely a smart wig that connects to smartphones and sends tactile feedback to wearers’ heads.


Coined the SmartWig, the device can include GPS and a camera placed near the forehead. Users can receive vibrating feedback on specific parts of their head. Furthermore, a laser pointer and remote used for presentations can be controlled by the head’s movement. An ultrasound transducer could also transmit or receive ultrasound waves to detect surrounding objects, warning users if there are obstacles behind or above their heads.

“The usage of a wig has several advantages that, compared to known wearable computing devices, include a significantly increased user comfort and an improved handling of the wearable computing device,” reads the application filed Thursday to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. First of all, a wig makes it easier to hide the parts of the device, and our heads are more sensitive than many other body parts, so wearers can be alerted discreetly. The SmartWig could also serve as the ultimate body and environmental sensor transmit health information to health care professionals.

But will we ever become such slaves to technology that we’d wear a wig or toupee for reasons other than vanity? Sony hopes so. “Wig technology improves year after year, and many companies manufacture and release new products, so wigs can be expected to look almost the same as natural hair in the near future,” according to the application. “Therefore, it is believed that a wig as proposed herein has huge potential as a wearable computing device.”

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.