May 31, 2013
Ingestible Internet? Tattoo Passwords? – Motorola Shows Off Their Futuristic Tech Bling
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Motorola, seemingly desperate to remind the world that they are owned by Google and not quite dead yet, offered up some wild ideas about how people will one day connect with their smartphones and mobile devices. The conversation spun out of the topic of wearable computing, but went deeper into embedded and even ingestible computing.According to Motorola´s senior vice president for advanced technology and former head of DARPA, we may one day use our entire body as an authentication token, a promising prospect considering the weakening nature of passwords. Similarly, an embedded device may also work as a login key to authenticate your identity.
Regina Dugan worked as the head of DARPA (the same agency responsible for robotic pack mules and cheetahs) before making the jump over to Motorola as their senior VP for advanced technology and projects. The new projects Motorola is reportedly working on are nothing if not advanced. Dugan showed off an electronic tattoo which could act as a key to computers, smartphones and other devices. Unafraid of futuristic technology, Dugan is dogfooding this project and has already had one of the devices embedded into her forearm. Motorola is working with a company called MC10 to build these embeddable keys, and Dugan said she believes this could be the real future of wearable computing, taking a subtle shot at Google Glass or Apple´s rumored iWatch.
“Teenagers might not want to wear a watch, but you can be sure they'll wear a tattoo just to piss off their parents,” said Dugan during the All Things D interview in which she showed off these devices.
In a second Jetsonian example, Dugan and Motorola CEO Dennis Woodside showed off a magical pill being created by Proteus Digital Health. This tiny ingestible tablet begins to work when it first comes in contact with the acid in the human stomach. Once there, it creates and broadcasts an 18-bit Internet signal in the body which can also be used as a password alternative.
Dugan has humorously dubbed this “Vitamin Authentication.”
Now that Motorola is owned by the the nation´s largest search engine, these ideas smack of Google´s edgy, forward thinking and creep-factor-be-damned ideals. Dugan and Woodside were quick to mention that the Vitamin Authentication would be completely optional and that though the pill has been approved by the FDA, they are nowhere near ready to be shipped.
The pair of Motorola executives likely demoed these products to reveal a new Motorola ethos, one that is willing to lead the charge in innovation. Samsung is the dominant Android partner at the moment, creating an awkward tension between Android´s maker and the hardware unit they actually own. The pair also used the All Things D stage this week to announce the new Moto X, Motorola´s new flagship device and the first smartphone to be assembled in the United States.
Motorola hasn´t been performing well in the market or in the courts since Google picked them up for $12.5 million in a deal which was made official last May. Their presence at All Things D, however, shows that the company isn´t yet willing to give up, and are instead looking many years into the future.