Where phone meets body

The biometric tech of the future is closer than you think

Disney Research
Can you press harder, I'm in a tunnel?

This tech uses low electrical pulses rather than bone conduction, but the implications are the same: you may soon be able to take calls, listen to podcasts and hear alerts while your phone stays in your pocket, with no headphones required.


Apple's Touch ID has grabbed most of the headlines over the past few weeks, and security is another area where our bodies will almost certainly be playing a larger role in the future.

We've already seen some possibilities bounced around various tech conferences — Motorola's Regina Dugan floated the idea of pills or an electronic tattoo as authentication methods at the Wall Street Journal's D11 conference this year. Essentially, you become the password.

It's not all pie-in-the-sky, either: MC10's Biostamp tattoo is built from stretchable silicon and contains very small circuits and antennae that can be used to prove you are who you say you are. Don't be surprised if you see it appearing alongside the iPhone 7 or Nexus 8 — one day, your phone will respond to your touch and your voice alone.

Forgotten your password? Use your electronic tattoo instead

In the near term at least, it seems that smart body monitors are the most realistic next step, building on the fitness tracker wristbands of today to help us learn more and more about our sleep, diet and general health.

Dave Asprey is one of the pioneers of the fledgling trend of biohacking - author, entrepreneur, investor and currently employed at Trend Micro, Asprey has spent more than a decade using body monitors and training devices to improve his diet, IQ and lifestyle.

He told TechRadar he thinks the data from the next wave of biosensors will open up countless opportunities: "The insight we glean from this new use of big data will teach us more about what it means to be human than we've ever known before.

"Hidden in the everyday biological and sociological behaviours of people, are the keys to unlocking the complex interaction between the environment and ourselves. In order to know what small changes to make, we must get the data. And then, we must use it wisely. That is the new frontier of biohacking."

You might think Google and Apple know a lot about you now, but it won't be long before our phones are monitoring us and offering feedback in even more intimate ways. Other innovations are still some distance off: while it would be useful to capture every great moment we see automatically, for now you'll have to make do with a lifelogger device such as Memento.

Unless, that is, you have a space for a prosthetic eye, in which case check out the work the Eyeborg Project team are doing. However these phone+body technologies pan out, the gap between them will get smaller and smaller.