Motorola reveals plans for ink and even pills to identify us

Motorola has announced it is looking at alternatives to traditional passwords in a bid to make logging into online sites, or accessing mobile phones, more secure.

Among the ideas discussed at the D11 conference in California on Wednesday were electronic tattoos and authentication pills that people swallow.

The tattoos, developed by Massachusetts-based engineering firm MC10, contain flexible electronic circuits that are attached to the wearer’s skin using a rubber stamp.

mt2
Motorola’s senior vice president of advance research, Regina Dugan, shows off an electronic tattoo at the D11 conference in California. The tattoos, designed by Massachusetts-based firm MC10, are made from silicon and contain electronic circuits that bend and move with the wearer’s body. The tattoos, called Biostamps, were designed for medical purposes to track a patient’s health, but Motorola thinks the technology can be used for authentication purposes, as an alternative to traditional passwords
mt4
This image shows the various parts that make up the MC10 electronic tattoo called the Biostamp. It can be stuck to the body using a rubber stamp, and protected using spray-on bandages. The circuit can be worn for two weeks and Motorola believes this makes it perfect for authentication purposes

MC10 originally designed the tattoos, called Biostamps, to help medical teams measure the health of their patients either remotely, or without the need for large expensive machinery.

Motorola claims that the circuits, which also contain antennae and built-in sensors, could be adapted to work with mobile phones and tablets.

[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” ]HOW DOES THE MC10 ELECTRONIC TATTOO WORK?

A researcher at the University of Illinois used standard CMOS semiconductor computer chip technologies to create the Biostamp.

It uses high-performance silicon and can stretch up to 200 per cent.

The Biostamp can monitor temperature, hydration and strain, among other medical statistics.

The first prototypes were stuck on using an plaster-style patches.

More recent prototypes are applied directly to the skin using a rubber stamp.

It can then be covered with spray-on bandage to make it more durable and waterproof enough to wash.

The MC10 Biostamp is said to last up to two weeks before it starts to come loose.[/box]

The mobile devices could then be used to confirm the owner’s identity and log them in to accounts automatically.

This would prevent thieves and other people from being able to access a phone, or individual apps on the device, if it is stolen or lost.

Another idea presented during the keynote talk at the Wall Street Journal conference with head of Motorola Dennis Woodside and senior vice president for advanced technology and products, Regina Dugan, was a swallowable 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.

mt3
Another password-alternative presented by Motorola at the Wall Street Journal’s D11 conference was the ‘vitamin authentication pill’. It contains a computer chip that creates an 18-bit signal when swallowed. Motorola is testing whether this signal can ‘talk’ to mobile phones and be used to authenticate a wearer’s identity

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.

Dugan continued that the pill could be taken every day for 30 days, if necessary, without any problems.

Woodside added Motorola would not be shipping these ‘right away’ but they have ‘tested it authenticating a phone, and it works.’

He continued:

‘Having the boldness to think differently about problems that everybody has every day is really important for Motorola now.’

1
2
Subscribe to our Newsletter

SHARE