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Pill Passwords

"I take a vitamin every morning, what if I could take vitamin authentication?" Dugan asked, shortly before pulling such a pill out of her pocket.

"This pill has a small chip inside of it with a switch," she said. "It also has what amounts to an inside-out potato battery. When you swallow it, the acids in your stomach serve as the electrolyte and power it up, and the switch goes on and off. It creates an 18-bit ECG like signal in your body so essentially your entire body becomes your authentication token."

"It means my arms are like wires and my hands are like alligator clips [so] when I touch my phone, my computer, my door, I'm authenticated."

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18 Responses:

  1. Adolf Osborne says:

    Inspiration, sorta.

    A local car dealer recently mailed me (and everyone else) a BIG SALE flier, adhered to which was a glowing trinket consisting of two coin cells, a simple switch activated by a pull tab, and an LED. This, of course, was promptly disassembled, magnets were attached, and the parts hung on the whiteboard near my front door, illuminating it for some days. It was handy, and had quite surprising stamina.

    Meanwhile, a friend of mine, back in antiquities, had a potatoe-powered LCD clock. It used two potatoes in series to work its magic.

    So I say to myself, upon seeing the digestive acid-powered authenticator pronounced above: Self, wouldn't it be fun to make light with vegetables?

    In the interest of science, I then followed my introspective self-referential query with a Google search.

    And, lo! Potatoe-powered LEDs are a thing that is easy.

    This will certainly be something that will occur at my next Halloween party.

    But the real question is: How many blobs of series-wired bean dip does it take to illuminate an LED? What if some of those blobs are replaced with blobs of sour cream? How many blobs does it take to put an LED into thermal runaway?

    I suspect I'll have to wait until the end of October to find these answers. Bean dip is a once-a-year delicacy in these parts, and it is quite usefully coincident with a proliferation of empty jello shot containers.

    (And yes, potatoe. With an E. Just as used to be a common-enough spelling before Dan Quayle made a spectacle of himself by declaring that spelling the word sans E was wrong. Both forms are right, or at least they were before he went and fucked it all up.)

    • David says:

      You can misspell potato all you want, as long as you do it on purpose, which, in my book, means it's not a misspelling anymore.

      But do you have a rationale for the very common "an LED"? As far as I can tell, neither "LED" nor "light" start with a vowel, so I would expect "a LED".

    • No E was 100 times as common as E for 100 years before Quayle and he didn't make it any worse. But if you go back to 1800, the E was 5 times as common.

    • jonathan says:

      I'm gob smacked that every piece of software between you writing your comment and me reading it left the blink tag in.

      • Jake Nelson says:

        Yeah, that got me too. Been a long time since I've seen a functional blink tag in the wild.

        • Adolf Osborne says:

          It's been here for many years. Nobody seems to abuse it (including myself, I suppose), so it I guess it stays.

    • reboots says:

      Bean dip post electrochemical reaction with copper and zinc may not be something you want to serve to your guests. I'm not certain there's a toxicity issue, but I advise you to research this issue before the party theme is set in stone.

      • Adolf Osborne says:

        Perhaps your parties are not like mine, but: At this point in the night, people are drinking fire and heterosexual men are making out with other heterosexual men on the front lawn.

        The pictures are quite the spectacle a week or two later.

        That said: Would I eat a some bean dip from a copper pot? Would I eat it from a galvanized pot? Both, absolutely: Yes. I don't see a single thing wrong here. If you do, please do feel free to express it in terms consisting of other-than certain disdain, with an analysis of what -exactly- might go wrong.

  2. hattifattener says:

    This is where I crankily note that this is identification in pill form not authentication, and if the folks developing it can't keep the two straight, it does not bode well.

    • nooj says:

      Well, regardless of what developers do, implementers always fuck up identification/authentication in new and exciting ways.

      It's an interesting concept. Considering that you (presumably) shit this thing out every few days and don't bother to recover it, you probably authenticate to your device/application via some other method (password) once per pill. Which makes for some interesting conversations:

      "I just took a shit and I forgot my password."

      "Jarvis? Why is the sewer system missing?" "Sir, the Mark XXIX reassembled around the wrong identification pill."

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