Digital Tattoo for Moto X offered in packs of ten

Jun 28, 2014 by Nancy Owano weblog

Back in 2013, Regina Dugan, the former DARPA head, and leading special projects for the Google-owned Motorola, showed electronic tattoos as one password authentication sign of the future.

The idea of a password authentication tool in the form of a wearable was quite novel but welcomed by a wider audience of techies and looking forward to better, more reliable and easier ways of logging into mobile devices. The idea this week has ripened considerably with Thursday's introduction by VivaLnk, a Santa Clara, California-based company, of Digital Tattoo, developed with Google's Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group. (The Verge commented Thursday that "some of the most amazing projects at Google are coming out of its Advanced Technologies and Products group, a team led by ex-DARPA director Regina Dugan.")

Worn on the wrist, the tattoo is used to unlock the smartphone user's Moto X. The product is a disposable that can last for five days. The lifetime is approximately five days but may vary with skin type and activity level. Then the tattoo is replaced with another. The company described the item as a nickel-sized, thin adhesive device; they are using medical-grade adhesives from 3M, blending in on the wrist.

The idea is to set up Moto X and the tattoo. The company site has a FAQ list that has a number of helpful guidelines for doing this, aiming for a spot about two inches up from the wrist. As for the sync, according to the announcement, "Simply tap the back of Moto X to your Digital Tattoo and follow the onscreen instructions. For the first activation, you will be prompted to re-enter your existing PIN and to set a master PIN. For the remaining activations of the same tattoo you pair the tattoo and tap to activate."

"VivaLnk's technology, it added, "has made it possible for us to create thin, flexible electronics that are adhesive, inexpensive, and disposable."

Digital Tattoo designed to communicate with a phone is an application of the company's eSkin wearable technology but it is the first commercialized product of its kind. According to the company the VivaLnk team is looking to expand to other devices and future versions of Android. Also, VivaLnk anticipates other products utilizing eSkin technology in health care, security, entertainment, and numerous other fields..

VivaLnk has begun selling Digital Tattoo packs through its website, for $9.99. VivaLnk noted that "A Digital Tattoo pack includes 10 tattoos—about a month's supply. Each will sync to your Moto X's NFC unlock."

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not rated yet Jun 28, 2014
Dubious at best. What's better? retinal recognition. No tattoo just look at the phone. Simple.
Use the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
not rated yet Jun 28, 2014
I like the idea.. It combines frequently changed passswords without having to memorize them.

What's better? retinal recognition

Retinal recognition can be spoofed. Once someone has the retinal scan (or more accurately: the hash of your retinal scan) it's game over.
On any device you will use in the future relying on retina recognition.
Much like if someone has your thumbprint you can forget about using thumbprint scanners for the rest of your life.

Having something that can change frequently is more secure. At least it limits the time someone can use to break into your system.

(Though the tattoo should probably not be worn on an exposed piece of skin. Possibly using IR or UV ink may add a tiny bit of security against random hackers. A targetted hacking willl not be delayed by such a feature.)
not rated yet Jun 29, 2014
The only way we can determine this is secure is to deploy it. At which point a whole lot of creative, highly motivated criminals will try to break it. I wouldn't be surprised if we don't find some new, never anticipated exploit being used.

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