D11

Electronic Tattoos and Passwords You Can Swallow: Google’s Regina Dugan Is a Badass

Published on May 29, 2013
by Liz Gannes

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Former DARPA head Regina Dugan now leads special projects for the Google-owned Motorola, and she claims to be very excited about wearable computers.

IMGS7774-X2By that she doesn’t necessarily mean something so pedestrianly futuristic as Google Glass or a smartwatch. Dugan means electronic tattoos and pills.

“We got to do a lot of epic shit when I was at DARPA,” Dugan said onstage at D11. But the stuff she is working on at Motorola is pretty cool (and totally creepy!) too:

  • An electronic tattoo that can be used to authenticate a user instead of some flimsy password. It’s made by a company called MC10 that Motorola is partnering with, and Dugan is wearing it on her own arm.
  • Another option in a similar vein: Vitamin authentication. Dugan shows a pill that can be ingested and then battery-powered with stomach acid to produce an 18-bit internal signal. After that, the swallower’s whole body becomes a password.

“This isn’t stuff that is going to ship anytime soon. But it is a sign of the new boldness inside Motorola,” explained Dugan’s boss, Motorola head Dennis Woodside. And Dugan and Woodside claimed that all this is entirely optional; Google is not going to be force-feeding us pills.

“If you want to ensure failure in your innovation, try removing the risks,” Dugan said. “Boredom is the enemy of innovation.”

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