Nothing is more tiresome than going to the vending machine and realizing that you forgot the key card at your desk that is at the very end of the infinitely long corridor. Maybe that is why, researchers developed a microchip than can be implanted under the skin. Bear just a slight sting and you won’t need to carry your key card around the office anymore. The syringe slides in between index finger and thumb. After that, just by clicking, the microchip gets inserted in the employees, creating another cyborg!
This may sound like a plot of a dystopian novel. However, this is a routine for the employees of a Swedish start-up hub, Epicenter. The company provides the implants that can unlock doors, operate printers, or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand. Thus, employees are opting for microchip implantation to avoid haul of key cards and ID cards. The procedure for the insertion is similar to piercing. It involves syringe injecting the chip into user’s hand. The technology became so viral that the employers of Epicenter hold parties only for the “chipped people”.
The co-founder and CEO of Epicenter, Patrick Mesterton said, “The biggest benefit, I think, is convenience. It completely replaces lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.” As a demonstration, Mesterton unlocked a door just waving near it.
However, this tech is not at all new. It was first introduced in Sweden in 2015. Till now, over three thousand Swedish people have embedded this microchip–of size of the tiny grain of rice–under their skin. The technology is not limited to opening the doors, but now, it is used to pay the train fare. In 2017, the SJ rail line in Sweden started scanning hands of passengers for microchips to collect the fare. This proves that the applications of this technology are limitless, especially in contactless credit card payment.
In recent years, the adoption of smart wearable such as Apple Watch and Fitbit is increased, which boosted biohacking, the modification of human bodies with technology. This has amplified the popularity of microchip implantation. Sporting the T-shirt “I got chipped”, more than 50 employees of the Wisconsin vending machine company willingly agreed to insert microchips in their hands. With the use of microchip, they will be able to buy snacks, log in to computers, and use copy machine.
According to the researchers, people easily get used to convenience, whether they like it or not. Thus, they believe that such microchips are the future and could replace the existing employee attendance tracking system. However, necessary precautions must be taken as the implantation could result in infection or reaction in the immune system. On the other hand, workers, who use such microchips, believe that they are being a part of the future. Human body is the next big platform to implant technology and these microchips are merely a start of a new era. The smartphones or tech wearable that we use today will be outdated in near future. All those technologies will become implantable in five to ten years. If this prediction is true, we better get ready, because instead of upgrading the technology, now technology is ready to upgrade us.