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Motorola introduces a digital tattoo so you can auto-unlock your smartphone

What do you value more, nine hours or $73? 


Mike Wehner


Posted on Jul 23, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 9:57 pm CDT

According to Motorola, the average person unlocks their phone 39 times per day. At an average of 2.3 seconds to unlock a device, that’s over nine hours of time per year that you’re wasting by tapping in a password or swiping your combination. Motorola thinks it’s figured out a better way, and you wear it on your skin.

It’s a digital tattoo that you wear for five days at a time, and it can unlock the Moto X phone with just a touch. The tattoo is about the size of a quarter and it gets applied directly to your skin. The super thin electronic film works as an NFC tag, and Motorola claims you can barely feel it.

The technology itself is nothing particularly revolutionary, as NFC tags have existed for a long while now, but the fact that it can be applied to your skin like a sticker is pretty nifty. That being said, the execution seems a bit off. If convenience is Motorola’s selling point—which it clearly is, as the tattoo is being hyped as a major time-saver—the fact that you have to replace it every five days is a major drawback.

On top of that, the tags will cost you one dollar a piece, and are sold in packs of 10. Over the course of a year, that’s $73. So in the end, it’s up to you to decide what you value more: nine hours of password entry time, or $73.

Screengrab via YouTube (Motorola)

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*First Published: Jul 23, 2014, 4:31 pm CDT