Google-owned Motorola reveals stomach acid-powered tablet that turns your body into a password
June 1, 2013
screenshot from AllThingsD video
“We got to do a lot of epic shit when I was at DARPA,” Dugan said. Indeed, DARPA has been involved in everything from weaponized hallucinations to tiny spy computers tomilitary human enhancements to automated drone-borne targeting and tracking systems tolinking rat brains over the Internet and much more.
Forget traditional usernames and passwords, this technology unveiled at D11 uses a tiny stomach acid-powered tablet to produce an 18-bit signal which can be detected by outside devices and used for authentication.
Dugan also showed off wearable electronic tattoos produced by a company called MC10, in partnership with Motorola, which serve a similar function.
The rationale behind these technologies, according to Dugan, is the annoyances caused by traditional authentication.
“Authentication is irritating,” Dugan said. “After 40 years of advances in computation, we’re still authenticating basically the same way we did years ago.”
The tablet, made by Proteus Digital Health, has already been approved by the FDA, according to Popular Science.
“The tablets contain a small chip with a switch and something that amounts to an inside-out potato battery,” Wired UK explains. “After swallowing it the acids in your stomach act as electrolytes, which power the battery and turn the switch on and off in a sequence.”
This produces an 18-bit ECG-like signal, turning the entire person into an “authentication token,” which Dugan called “vitamin authentication,” according to the Verge.
“This isn’t stuff that is going to ship anytime soon. But it is a sign of the new boldness inside Motorola,” said Dennis Woodside, CEO of Motorola.
However, Woodside did successfully complete a demonstration of the tablet authenticating a phone.
“The authentication could be activated by touch, since the human body conducts electricity — touch your phone or laptop and you’re in,” according to Discovery.
“Google won’t be force feeding you these pills like this is some kind of a twisted, science-fiction movie,” Tech2 reports.
Yet the attraction is obvious. If people could protect their computers, phones, homes, businesses, etc. without having to constantly type long, complex passwords it’s not difficult to see them wanting to do so.
That’s especially true when one would only have to take a pill regularly and in doing so would provide an authentication method that is more secure than one could imagine in times past. Wired UK states that the development of this type of technology shows “that hacking is a major concern as we conduct more and more of our business online.”
Given the clear benefits of a technology like this, it’s not hard to see companies requiring their employees to use a tablet like this, especially among companies that are especially concerned about security.
Just as some companies have required fingerprint scanners, iris scanners or other biometric identification methods, it’s not hard to imagine some companies jumping on this “vitamin authentication” technology.