Tattoos, Pills to Replace Traditional Passwords

Dennis Faas's picture

Motorola is experimenting with new methods for securing personal technology devices. The firm is actively searching for alternatives to the standard password.

At the recent All Things D(igital) conference in California, Motorola's head of Advanced Technology and Projects, Regina Dugan, suggested transforming the human body into a walking verification center.

The first method involves an electronic tattoo, whereby an individual would be able to literally wear a passcode on their skin. To pursue this idea Motorola has teamed with an electronics company MC10, which currently offers tattoos with embedded sensors and an antenna.

With this new partnership, pass-protected verification would become a feature of the tattoo for the very first time.

Motorola's second idea appears to come straight from the pages of a science fiction story.

Authentication Via Super Pill

The company is proposing a concept that would allow people to bypass security systems using a pill. Motorola has referred to this system as "vitamin authentication".

At the conference, Dugan presented a pill housing a tiny computer chip. When the pill is swallowed, the acids in your stomach serve as the electrolyte and power up the chip.

When activated, the pill creates a signal and the entire body becomes an authentication token. (Source:

Dugan related the pill to giving people their first semblance of a superpower, as "arms become like wires and hands become like alligator clips. When a phone, computer, door or car ignition is touched, authentication occurs."

Research suggests the average person inputs their password 39 times a day, while those who maintain the same code for multiple devices might type the same string of letters and numbers over 100 times daily.

Couple this with the fact that hacking is becoming more and more prevalent with each passing day and you can see why developing modern means of security protection is paramount. (Source:

FDA Approval Granted

Motorola offered no timeframe for when the new authentication methods would be available to the public, but the company did receive some good news in terms of their vitamin authentication system: FDA clearance. The pill has already been proven successful when validating an individual for their smartphone.

With FDA approval, Motorola indicated the entire process could become a reality a lot sooner than you might expect. Unfortunately, we don't have any specific information on a release date just yet.

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