It was recently reported that Google filed a patent for a device that would be inserted into the human eye in order to correct poor vision. After reading through what seemed like a crazy, odd idea to obtain a patent for, as it turns out, this isn’t the first weird patent Google has filed. In fact, the MIT Technology Review reported back in 2013 that Google was winning an estimated 10 patents every business day from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.
Here’s a look at some of the weirdest patents Google owns:
1. Water-based data center
Google filed a patent application for a “”Water-Based Data Center in 2007 to power computer servers. The design for the system includes a floating platform-mounted computer data center with a sea-based electrical generator and one or more seawater cooling units. The idea is that the motion of water would power the systems.
2. Comic strips for Social Networks
In 2010 Google filed a patent for a technology called “”Self-Creation of Comic Strips in Social Networks and Other Communications to let users make cartoon strips on social networking sites. This is actually kind of cool- imagine how much fun we’d have turning our tweets and our annoying friends’ Facebook statuses into comic book strips!
3. Weird Google Glass-related stuff
Google has filed quite a few different patents for their Google Glass eyewear headset concept. In 2013 Google filed a patent for a virtual keyboard that would project onto your hand and work with the headset. There’s a patent for a more funky-looking design for the Google Glass earpiece, and even a patent for a monocle version of Google Glass.
Google really, really wants Google Glass to happen at some point.
4. Google Glass Holograms
Did you think I was kidding? Google even has a patent for creating holograms with their Google glass design. The patent was filed in March 2014 and would allow Google to create augmented reality experiences that essentially superimpose a computer-generated image (CGI) on what you see in the real world.
5. Electronic throat tattoos
This one is crazy. In 2013 Google filed a patent for a “”digital throat tattoo which would be a tiny printed circuit on your throat so you could relay your voice to your smartphone. Don’t worry; it’s a ‘temporary’ electronic tattoo. According to the patent, the device would allow cyborgs—err, humans—to communicate with their smartphone, videogames, tablets and other wearable tech such as FitBits, Apple watches and Google glass, via Bluetooth-like connections. The device includes a microphone and power source so you can communicate with your tech using voice commands—no earpiece needed!
6. Walking stick that takes photos
Yep, you read that right. Google was granted a patent in 2013 titled “Walking Stick with IMU [inertial measurement unit]” for what’s basically a walking stick with imaging and location sensors on it. Using a switch at the bottom, the walking stick would take pictures of its surrounding environment and keep a record of your location. According to the patent, Google hopes people use the stick to create a virtual stimulation of the area they walk through.
7. Advertisements generated based on weather
Google wants to send you advertisements more than anyone. Don’t believe me? Well, this patent from 2008 titled “”Advertising Based on Environmental Conditions, is for technology that would receive information about your environmental conditions (like if it’s raining or extremely hot) and generate advertisements based on those weather conditions. In example, if you were in an area with a high temperature, you’d start seeing advertisements for air conditioners, whereas, if you were in an area with a lot of rain, you might see ads for rain jackets and waterproof clothing.
8. Pay-per-gaze Advertising Tracking System
If you didn’t think that last patent was creepy, it gets weirder. This patent awarded to Google in 2013, titled “Gaze tracking system” helps advertisers determine how long someone actually looks at an ad and what kind of impression it makes. It works as a head-mounted device, such as Google Glass, and captures everything the user gazes at, especially advertisements, and measures how long the person looks at it and the degree of the pupil dilation to determine how much of en emotional response the ad evokes.