Motorola Working on Digital Tattoos, Password Pill

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By Vittorio Hernandez | June 1, 2013 11:31 PM EST

Besides releasing in October 2013 the Moto X smartphone, Motorola Mobility's first handset since it was acquired by Google, the company is working on new methods that would make remembering passwords unnecessary.

Motorola Advanced Technology and Projects Group Chief Regina Dugan disclosed over the weekend at the D11 conference that the tech firm is working on electronic tattoo or implantable chips that would make the human body the tool for identification.

"Authentication is irritating. So irritating that only about half the people do it even though there's a lot of information about you on your smart phone," said Ms Dugan, who was a former Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency head.

Motorola is working with mc10, a relatively unknown tech firm, to develop the flexible tattoo technology or epidermal electronics which is made up of various sensors and gages to track multiple directions, electrical impulses in the skeletal structure or nerves, heart activity, temperature and light.

It is similar to NFC chips that are powered from an external electricity source via the embedded wireless power coil placed inside a sheet of water-soluble plastic that is laminated to the skin and could be disguised as a regular temporary tattoo pattern.

Other possible uses of the electronic tattoo, besides as a method of opening a computer or other accounts that require a password, it could also track muscle movements around speech and brain signal.

Aside from the electronic tattoo, Motorola is experimenting with a password pill that a person swallows. The person would then transmit a signal to devices outside the body powered by stomach acids.

It has a switch that turns on and off and generates an 18-bit signal similar to an electrocardiogram. The authentication could be activated by touch since the human body conducts electricity.

The pill already has FDA approval registered by the company Proteus Digital Health for medical applications such as recording when medicine is ingested.

That device, however, would not hit tech store shelves in the near future yet, Motorola said.

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