Sony has filed a patent for "SmartWig" wearable technology
Sony has filed a patent for "SmartWig" - a wig full of wireless sensors that could help blind people navigate by themselves. (Reuters)

Sony has filed a patent application for a SmartWig which can process data and communicate wirelessly with devices.

In a patent application, the Japanese technology giant describes the SmartWig as a wearable computing device that includes a camera sensor, a processing unit, vibration motors and a communication interface that is able to communicate with and transmit information from other devices.

The sensors and interfaces are meant to be arranged in the wig so that they are not visible and "without limiting the user in his daily life activities."

The wig is meant to have an "inconspicuous appearance" so that people around the user are unaware that there is technology in it, and is proposed by Sony to double up as a "combined technically intelligent item and fashion item" in one.


According to the application, the wigs would be made from horse hair, human hair, wool, feathers, yak hair, buffalo hair or any kind of synthetic material.

The market for wearable technology is steadily increasing, helped by the hype around Google's head-mounted wearable computer Google Glass and the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch that launched in September.

A survey recently conducted by Rackspace and the Centre for Creative and Social Technology at Goldsmiths, University of London found that 8 million Britons are already using wearable technology.

55% of the 2,000 survey respondents already use wearable technology and 71% of them feel that the gadgets have enhanced their lives.

What could Sony's SmartWig be used for?

  • Helping the Blind: The SmartWig could be used as a remote control device enabling blind people to navigate the world around them. The camera sensor, electric compass and GPS sensor could be used to pinpoint the exact location of the user, and then a remote user or system could send directions to a desired location in the form of "vibration commands" via Wi-Fi through the network to the wig.
  • VR Headset: The gaming industry could also be interested in the hairpiece as a virtual reality type of appliance, and "wig-to-wig communications" could also be possible.
  • Cosplay: An important aspect of modern Japanese pop culture is the hobby Cosplay, where individuals make and wear costumes and matching wigs in order to emulate their favourite characters from video games, Japanese animated films and comics. Sony believes cosplayers and actors could benefit from the SmartWig, as well as "people who usually do not wear wigs".