Google ATAP designed Digital Tattoo arrives.
Waterproof patches worn on the skin unlock phones using a swipe of the wrist
A little over a year ago now, the then-Motorola-controlled Advanced Technologies Group took to the stage at the D11 Conference, revealing a few interesting projects including a smart pill and a digital tattoo, both of which were designed to make authenticating your phone a breeze — without the need for passwords and pins.
While the smart pill – The Proteus Digital Health pill – has already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration and was given European regulatory approval in 2010. It contains a computer chip that can be powered like a battery using the acid in the wearer’s stomach.
Once swallowed the ‘vitamin authentication pill’ creates an 18-bit ECG-like signal inside the wearer’s body that can be picked up by mobile devices and authentication hardware outside.
This could be used verify the wearer is the correct owner of the device or account.
The new “ Digital Tattoo ” is produced by VivaLnk, a Silicion Valley tech company that it developed with the cooperation of Google’s ATAP group. The tattoo lasts for 5 days before needing changed out and uses NFC technology to unlock your phone quickly. For those wondering, the tattoo is completely water proof as well, so need to worry about that.
The average person takes 2.3 seconds to unlock their phone, and does this almost 40 times a day, which over the course of a year, works out as 10 hours wasted.
But now, unlocking devices can be as simple as swiping an arm.
At the moment, Digital Tattoo is exclusively available for the Moto X, but the company is planning to eventually bring support to other devices as well.
Motorola has created a range of digital tattoos the size of a penny that stick to a person’s wrist, or other body part.
By linking the circuits in the waterproof patch to a phone, users can unlock devices simply by holding them near their body.
Each digital tattoo is made of super-thin, flexible plastic embedded with a circuit and NFC chip.
It sticks to the skin using medical-grade adhesive, developed in partnership with experts at 3M, and the company claims it will last for five days.
This also means it can survive ‘showering, swimming and vigorous activities like jogging.’
Each patch is one inch (24.13mm) in diameter and has an unlock radius of 0.4 inches (10mm).
The technology was teased at last year’s All Things D conference, when Motorola executive Regina Dugan talked about new digital tattoos that would make it easier to unlock a phone.
As for the costs, the VivLnk Digital Tattoo is sold in packs of ten at a price of $9.99.