Google-owned Motorola reveals stomach acid-powered tablet that turns your body into a password
Google-owned tech company, Motorola has unveiled a prototype vitamin tablet which enables your entire body to function as an authentication token.
Regina Dugan, former director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and current head of Google-owned Motorola’s research division, introduced a prototype “vitamin authentication” tablet which turns your entire body into a walking authentication token.
“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 to military human enhancements to automated drone-borne targeting and tracking systems to linking 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 MC 10, in partnership with Motorola, which serve a similar function.
The rationale behind these technologies, according to Dugan, is the annoyances caused by traditional authentication.
It highlights the fact that hacking is a major concern as we conduct more and more of our business online and that many companies are investigating or implementing alternative authentication strategies to the straightforward username/password scenario.
"I take a vitamin every morning, what if I could take vitamin authentication?" Dugan asked onstage at the D11 conference. She then went on to describe the device as "my first super power".
The tablets contain a small chip with a switch and something that amounts to an inside-out potato battery. 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.
The result is that your body contains an 18-bit ECG-like signal, which can be picked up by devices and used as an authentication method.
The tablets are already manufactured for medical purposes by a company called Proteus and have been cleared by the FDA. Dugan didn't comment on the biological specifics but it is logical to assume that the life of the token would therefore correspond with the pace of your digestive tract.
“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.