US Company the First to Offer Chip Implants to Employees
Wisconsin company Three Square Market is offering RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) microchips implants to its employees. Those who volunteer for the implant will have an RFID microchip injected between the thumb and forefinger. The company says it’s aiming to modernize payment options and access to company systems.
The company says it’s the first in the U.S. to offer implants. Earlier this year, Sweden’s Epicenter startup hub made headlines when it offered a similar option.
Three Square Market — a micro market kiosk provider — will be implanting microchips in 50 volunteer employees on 1st August 2017. The $300 implants are roughly the size of a grain of rice, and will be paid for by the company.
Volunteers who get the implants installed will immediately be able to use them to make purchases from a break room store, unlock doors, and login to computers. Should employees praise the benefits of this technology, the company hopes to add more features for employees to use.
Chip Communicates With Various Office Devices
The RFID microchips will utilize NFC (near field communication) to transfer data from users’ hands to various devices.
In a press release, Three Square Market stated they want to explore more than just payment options. CEO Todd Westby said:
“We foresee the use of RFID technology to drive everything from making purchases in our office break room market, opening doors, use of copy machines, logging into our office computers, unlocking phones, sharing business cards, storing medical/health information, and used as payment at other RFID terminals. Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.”
Implants Raise Privacy, Security Questions
In an interview with KSTP, Westby — who has an implant himself — showed how the purchasing process would work on a kiosk on a snack vending machine. The process was quick, and this could potentially save time for those who adopt. However, for this to work correctly, your credit card information has to be installed on the microchip. This could be a security concern for some.
Westby stated that the information on the chips is encrypted, and there is no GPS capability. It is still unclear as to how exactly the data is encrypted, and how updating on information on the chip is done.
Implantable and programmable chips have been available for some time, although for many years they were available only for pets and other animals. Makers and enthusiasts assure skeptics the chips cannot be read from a distance, and in most cases can be reprogrammed.
Martijn Wismeijer (a.k.a. “Mr. Bitcoin”) of cryptocurrency ATM maker General Bytes, is famous for having chips with bitcoin wallets in both his hands. His company is also experimenting with ways NFC chips and plastic cards can be used in blockchain transactions.
Would you have a chip implanted in your hand? Please share your thoughts below.
Images via KSTP, DangerousThings.com