As mobile technology becomes more deeply connected to our personal, professional and even emotional lives, it's also becoming more intimately acquainted with our physical selves. We scan our fingertips and eyeballs, wrap Bluetooth around our ears, strap phones to our biceps and perch cameras on our noses. Temporary tattoos, then, seem a rather obvious next step.
Motorola has teamed with VivaLnk, which makes eSkin technology, to create "digital tattoos" that are near-field communication (NFC) based, nickel-sized and waterproof; last for an average of five days of wear; and, with a touch, will unlock a smartphone, saving a wearer the effort of typing in a PIN.
Moto X users can buy them now; a pack of 10 is $10.
"In the last 40 years, we have not changed how we unlock our devices, even though their usage has significantly increased," Deepak Chandra, project leader of the Google ATAP program, says in a video posted to the Motorola blog July 22.
(Maybe by "we" he means Google, since plenty of Apple users have shifted to unlocking their phones by swiping their fingers over their iPhone 5S home buttons, in lieu of entering passwords. Or at least, with great irritation, try to.)
"An average user unlocks their device 39 times a day, and it takes them 2.3 seconds every time they do so," adds Chandra.
That's a wasted 1.5 minutes every day. Not a day killer, really. And it's hard to imagine that tapping one's phone to one's forearm, or wherever the tattoo is applied, could really be much swifter. I can imagine that it would be less annoying somehow, though.
Motorola also makes Skip, a clip you can attach to your skirt hem or shirt cuff that performs the same function. Each Skip, which costs $10, comes with three Skip "dots"—quarter-sized stickers that … you know.
Even if it took me 2.3 seconds to pick up my phone, tap it to a dot and wait the fraction of a moment for the magic between the devices to take place, that would feel more seamless than tapping in a password. Which, when we're rushing or only have one hand free, we all often get wrong on the first try.
Still, a temporary tattoo?
Motorola calls them beautiful—though to me they look a little bit like the coiled foil stickers that Rite-Aid uses to keep you from stealing the good shampoos.
Too invasive? A smart move? What if you could design the tattoo yourself—customize it, like you can the Moto X?
Will you wear one?