Office workers implanted with microchips in Sweden
January 30, 2015
THE future is now. Once the preserve of pets and science-fiction movies, ordinary office workers are being implanted with microchips instead of using swipe cards to access their office.
The futuristic trend is being used at an innovative shared working space in Stockholm, Sweden, called Epicentre, where workers have tiny RFID (radiofrequency identification) chips the size of a grain of rice placed in the pack of their hands, the BBC reports.
The chip provides access to the building, photocopier and lifts but includes plans to let people buy lunch from the cafe downstairs in what could be the beginning of the end for swipe cards and EFTPOS.
A photo posted by Emilott Lantz (@emilottlantz) on Nov 12, 2014 at 6:09am PST
The idea is being driven by Swedish biohacking group BioNyfiken, who hold “implant parties” of eight to 15 people at a time in order to insert the chips. They claim the goal is to make everyday life easier and want participants to feel part of a community.
Chief disruption officer Hannes Sjoblad estimates about 100 people across Sweden have the chips, which have been used in animals and humans before. He said it was an ideal solution to the “messy” business of keeping multiple pin codes and passwords.
“Wouldn’t it be easy to just touch with your hand? That’s really intuitive,” he told the BBC.
The office project is not the first time chips have been inserted for convenience. Self-described feminist Emilott Lantz, 25, received an implant late last year as part of a tech conference along with about 50 others.
“I don’t feel as though this is the future — this is the present. To me, it’s weird that we haven’t seen this sooner,” she told Swedish newspaper, The Local.
Mr Sjöblad also said at the time that it was no surprise “this is happening in Sweden first and not anywhere else.”
“Swedes have a proven track record of being very early adaptors of new technologies and the current mood is very conducive to this type of experimenting,” he told The Local.
It’s the next level in a growing trend of wearable technology and life-logging, with US company MC10 also producing digital tattoos that can be stamped on to the body and produce data on hydration and UV exposure, or monitor a baby’s temperature.
But while some have embraced the idea, others are uneasy with what it might mean in future.