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Microsoft Patents Electric Shocks As Notification Option

A lot of the big technology corporations like Apple, Google or Microsoft have literally thousands of patents that will never see the light of day. Any great idea that they have gets a patent just in case they ever want to use it. So, in the category of weird patents that hopefully won’t become a thing, Microsoft recently submitted a patent that will allow your phone to send a small electric signal to you instead of a ringtone or vibration.

Now, I know how crazy that sounds, and the patent specifies that the shock is not designed to be painful but rather produce a tingling sensation. The patent actually is for┬ásome sort of electric conductive element sewn into clothing that with interface with your device to deliver the zap whenever a specific ‘event’ like a call or notification occurs. It’s almost more like a wearable technology than anything else, but the end result is the same–your phone sending you a small shock to let you know you’ve missed something.

Who would possibly need this? The example the patent gives is a construction worker using a jackhammer who might not feel his phone vibrating in his pocket. Therefore, an electric zapping action totally makes sense, right?

Personally, I can’t think of a situation in which I’d be okay with my smartphone sending an electrical current through my body–no matter how slight. We all know how addictive smartphones are, right? Well, this newest patent by Microsoft kind of makes me wonder if the guys over there are at all familiar with the idea of classical conditioning, which uses stimuli (like a shock or a noise) to train animals or even people to have certain responses. While one could argue that a ringtone does just that, I can’t help but think that an electrical shock would be even more habit-forming. Maybe they should name it Pavlov’s Ringtone.

On the other hand, I can see how in certain situations having something that would virtually guarantee you’d not miss an important call or text could be pretty useful. Maybe I am just being way too sensitive about all of this. What do you think? If you had the option for a small zap (which would be nearly impossible to miss) as a notification option on your smartphone, would you use it? Let me know in the comments below!