June 6, 2013
Although talk of biotechnology-based tattoos and nanotech pills has been circulating in the tech world for quite some time, a recent report in the Daily Mail entitled, “The hi-tech tattoo that could replace ALL your passwords: Motorola reveals plans for ink and even pills to identify us,” serves as an official introduction of the technology to a world of trendy consumers who will no doubt gobble up the devices as if they were a hot meal.
Covering the discussions taking place at the D11 conference in California in late May, Victoria Woollaston reports that Motorola announced their intention to release and market the digital tattoos, known as BioStamps, for the purpose of creating an alternative to traditional password logins.
The BioStamp tattoos were actually developed by a Massachusetts-based engineering company known as MC10, for the alleged purpose of helping “medical teams measure the health of their patients either remotely, or without the need for large expensive machinery.”
It should be noted, however, that MC10 is also heavily involved in the defense industry, as virtually all of the firms developing such potentially Orwellian technology almost always are. It is thus interesting indeed to see a company involved in the Defense industry, which is largely concerned with reducing the lifespan of human beings, developing technology under the premise of humanitarian concerns like “monitoring the health of their patients.” That is, unless there is some other ulterior motive for the development of such technology.
Nevertheless, the BioStamp tattoos are impressive pieces of technology. As Woolaston describes them:
It uses high-performance silicon and can stretch up to 200 per cent.
The Biostamp can monitor temperature, hydration and strain, among other medical statistics.
The first prototypes were stuck on using an plaster-style patches.
More recent prototypes are applied directly to the skin using a rubber stamp.
It can then be covered with spray-on bandage to make it more durable and waterproof enough to wash.
The MC10 Biostamp is said to last up to two weeks before it starts to come loose.
Motorola claims that the circuits, which also contain antennae and built-in sensors, could be adapted to work with mobile phones and tablets.
The mobile devices could then be used to confirm the owner's identity and log them in to accounts automatically.
This would prevent thieves and other people from being able to access a phone, or individual apps on the device, if it is stolen or lost.Perhaps even more concerning, however, is the technology mentioned during the course of the keynote speech at the Wall Street Journal conference. Here, head of Motorola, Dennis Woodside, along with Senior Vice President for Technology and Products, Regina Dugan, discussed both the concept and finished product known as the Proteus Digital Health pill.
The digestible digital pill was actually announced over two years ago when companies like Proteus and Topol announced the development of such a pill and pushed for its approval on the market by the Food and Drug Administration. The Proteus pill was already given regulatory approval in the EU as far back as 2010.
As Woolaston describes the pill,
The Proteus Digital Health pill contains a computer chip and a switch.
Once swallowed, the acid in the wearer's stomach causes electrolytes to turn the switch on and off.
This creates an 18-bit ECG-like signal that can be picked up by mobile devices and authentication hardware to verify the wearer is the correct owner of the device or account.
It can also monitor heart rate.
The pill was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2012 after getting European regulatory approval in 2010.
Motorola's Regina Dugan called it the 'vitamin authentication pill' and said the pills can be taken every day for 30 days, if necessary, without any problems.At the conference, Woodside went on to explain how the pill could be used more for “authentication” than for the “monitoring of the medical health of patients,” when he stated that Motorola has “tested it authenticating a phone and it works.”
Playing on the convenience factor, Dugan stated,
Authentication is irritating. In fact its so irritating only about half the people do it.
Despite the fact there is a lot of information about you on your smartphone, which makes you far more prone to identity theft.
After 40 years of advances in computation, we're still authenticating the same way we did years ago - passwords.
In fact it's worse, the average users does it 39 times a day and it takes them 2.3 seconds every time they do it.
Power users will do it up to 100 times a day.
So what are we doing about it? Well [Motorola] is thinking of a whole variety of options for how to do better at authentication such as near-term things including tokens or fobs that have NFC or bluetooth.
But you can also think about a means of authentication you can wear on your skin every day, say an electronic tattoo or a vitamin pill.Of course, for all the repetition of increased convenience and greater ability to authenticate electronic devices such as smart phones or quick and easier access to secure accounts etc. it is not mentioned once by the promoters of the pills and tattoos or by the media (also apparent promoters of the pills and tattoos) that such technology would be a Godsend to government agencies that might wish to restrict access to devices, accounts, and the like in the future.
Indeed, a repressive government would be greatly aided by a technology that would grant it the opportunity to lock especially disobedient citizens out of bank accounts, electronic communications, and even stores.
At this point, it should be noted that Regina Dugan who so passionately promotes the Proteus Pill was also once the head of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), another interesting coincidence for those incapable of deciphering why, in the world of revolving doors between government, military, intelligence, and private corporations, a former member of DARPA would be promoting technology that could, in theory, enslave an entire population.
For those confident that the United States and the rest of the “civilized” world are outside of history, such connections are not likely to cause concern.
For the rest of us, however, they are ominous signs indeed.
Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here.
Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over 200 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.