Motorola Considers Security Role For 'Digital Medicine' You Swallow As A Pill

Motorola is thinking creatively about improving online security. In fact, they want to turn you into the password.

Swallowing a digital pill containing a tiny unique signal might be how you prove your identity in the future - including to your own mobile devices.

The idea would see you ingest a self-destructing pill, which contains a silicon chip about the size of a grain of sand. The chip is powered by the acid in your stomach and is able to create an "18-bit signal" in your body. The signal can be authenticated by a sensor patch on your arm, which in turn communicates with a smartphone.

Originally made for doctors wanting to check the efficacy of medicine, Motorola thinks it might have a job to do in security as well.

Regina Dugan, SVP for advanced technology and projects at Motorola, showed it off at the D11 conference as an example of new ways phones, humans and security might interact. She suggested that the signal could be unique to each user, and might be usable as a password.

She said that the idea, along with a prototype electronic tattoo, might open up new avenues for wearable technology.

Known as a "vitamin authentication" system, the pill is the work of a company called Proteus Digital Health. The pill was approved in 2012 by the American Food and Drug Administration and received European regulatory approval in 2010.

Forbes writes that the pill is also able to detect heart rate and physical activity, and may help doctors improve dosages of drugs and medicine.

PDH says that its system has already been used in "thousands of days" of trails with no serious problems reported.

It is not clear exactly how Motorola might be thinking of integrating similar systems into its own products, but it's an intriguing glimpse of the future.

Speaking in a statement recently after the company gathered $62.5 million in extra funding, Proteus CEO Andrew Thompson said:

“The commitment of our strategic partners helps us to accelerate our mission… By embedding Proteus technology into established, market leading products & services we are changing healthcare and empowering patients, physicians and researchers with digital technology.”

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