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Motorola shows off digital tattoos and smart pills, not afraid to think outside the box

Yesterday at the D11 Conference, Motorola revealed its plans for wearable (or swallowable) authentication tokens in the form of tattoos and pills.
May 30, 2013

Yesterday at the D11 Conference, Motorola took the stage and revealed some truly epic news. Not only did we learn that the X Phone is in fact real, the company also unveiled its plans for unique authentication devices in the future.

The first of these technologies is a prototype electronic tattoo that Motorola’s SVP for advanced technology, Regina Dugan, wore on her arm. According to Regina, the tattoo could potentially replace traditional authentication methods for logging into devices like your phone or tablet. The tattoo would only need to changed out once a week.

Regina also commented on how wearable tattoos might be more exciting to younger people than devices like smartwatches. In her words, “teenagers might not want to wear a watch, but you can be sure they’ll wear a tattoo just to piss off their parents.”


While the tattoo certainly is unique, it has nothing on the second prototype shown off by Motorola, a pill created by Proteus Digital Health.

That’s right, Motorola hopes to someday bring us a pill that you can ingest that basically turns YOU into an authentication token. The idea is that the pill’s electronics would be powered by the acid in your stomach and could create an 18-bit signal in your body.

According to Regina, the pill technology has been successfully tested and is even approved by the FDA. Just don’t expect either the tattoo or pill to ship anytime soon, as they are both still “works in progress”. The bigger take away is that Motorola isn’t afraid to try new things and is openly thinking about the future of wearable (and ingestable?) technologies.

Motorola might not be the biggest player in the mobile world, but I certainly wouldn’t count the company down and out. What do you think of these unique authentication methods, could you see yourself using either one of these?