Motorola taps 'digital tattoo' for phone security

The nickel-sized piece of tech adheres to your wrist and enables instant unlocking.

The nickel-sized sticker with circuitry lets you unlock your phone by touching the handset to it. Motorola

Motorola is offering a unusual approach to unlocking your smartphone: a piece of circuitry that adheres to your wrist.

The so-dubbed "digital tattoo" for the Moto X smartphone was launched Tuesday. It was first mentioned last year at the D: All Things Digital conference and follows up on Motorola's Skip accessory, a wearable clip that allows users to unlock their phones with a single tap.

Motorola claims that people take 2.3 seconds on average to unlock their phones -- an action they do about 39 times a day. Because this process can be cumbersome and tedious, some people just skip locking their devices in the first place. The handset maker is hoping these wearable technologies can offer a more convenient way to unlock, though it's not clear that digital tattoos will become the next big fashion accessory.

The tattoo is actually a thin, nickel-sized sticker with circuitry. You can adhere one to your wrist and unlock your phone by just touching the device to the tattoo. The NFC-enabled technology is available through VivaLnk, with a pack of 10 costing $10. Each lasts for five days and will stay on when showering, swimming, or working out.

About the author

Ben Fox Rubin is a staff writer for CNET in Manhattan, reporting on Amazon, e-commerce and mobile payments. He previously worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and got his start at newspapers in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.


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