Tattoos May Someday Replace Passwords

Motorola is testing electronic tattoos and pills as authentication alternatives.

Imagine if you could log in to your smartphone just by holding it in your hand. Google's Motorola group is working on making that dream a reality by testing password alternatives like electronic tattoos and pills that could confirm your identity.

The Telegraph's Matt Warman reported, "Motorola’s forthcoming phones could use electronic tattoos or pills to identify users, it has been announced. The technology, which aims to remove the need to enter passwords and replace them simply with a phone being close to a user’s body, was one of the suggestions Dennis Woodside, Motorola’s chief executive, California's D11 conference yesterday."

Geek's James Plafke explained, "At the All Things D conference, Regina Duncan — formerly of DARPA, currently head of Motorola special projects — mentioned two projects her division is developing. The first, an electronic tattoo, is used in place of a password. Duncan was wearing a model on her forearm, and it comes equipped with sensors and antennas that can recognize, for instance, your smartphone. So, rather than mistype a tedious password every time you want to download a new app, you can instead just wear a little barcode tattoo. For those of you that have been mulling over tattoo ideas for years and still haven’t been able to pull the inky trigger, it seems like Duncan’s tattoo is more of a sticker."

The Verge's Dieter Bohn added, "The second technology was even wilder: a pill from Proteus Digital Health that you can swallow and which is then powered by the acid in your stomach. Once ingested, it creates an 18-bit signal in your body — and thereby makes your entire person an 'authentication token.' Dugan called it 'vitamin authentication.'"

The International Business Times quoted Dugan, who said of joining Google, "I joined the scrappy underdog team. I like that environment. We got to do a lot of epic s--t when I was at DARPA, and it was clear I wanted to do more of that. We challenge everything, not just about the projects we’re doing but also how we’re doing innovation."




Tags: authentication, Google, Motorola, password


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