Geek Trivia

In 2013 Motorola Revealed An Unconventional Authentication System Built Around A?

Sweat Tester
Password Pill
Heartbeat Monitor
Secret Knock
What Office Ritual Is The Result Of Careful Marketing?

Answer: Password Pill

In 2013, Motorola unveiled an authentication system at the D11 conference that raised a few eyebrows, even among the early adopter tech-hungry crowd: an authentication system you popped just like a vitamin pill.

Regina Dugan, leader of Motorola’s Advanced Technology team, explained during the demonstration:

“This pill has a small chip inside of it, with a switch. It also has what amounts to an inside-out potato battery. When you swallow it, the acids in your stomach serve as the electrolyte, and they power it up and the switch goes on and off and it creates an 18-bit ECG-like signal in your body. Essentially, your entire body becomes your authentication token.

[That] means that my arms are like wires, my hands are like alligator clips — when I touch my phone, my computer, my door, my car, I’m authenticated in. It’s my first super power. I want that.”

Curiously enough, the pill isn’t a purely theoretical idea or so abstract as to be beyond approval. Not only did they give a live demonstration of the password pill on stage, but testing for a similar device (medical sensor) has advanced far enough that the device has received FDA approval.

While actual consumer use of the pill is a long way off (if it is ever released for the consumer market), the entire venture is definitely pushing the boundaries of how we think about authentication and human-on-machine interaction.

Image courtesy of Motorola.