Innovation

How human microchip implants could lead to the 'democratization of healthcare' via IoT

A Swedish biohacker has created RFID microchips that can be implanted in someone's hand. He believes the innovation could lead to a revolution in the IoT health industry.

To make it easier for employees to access data and gain entrance to company buildings, Swedish biohacker Hannes Sjöblad implants RFID microchips into their hands—on a voluntary basis, of course—between their thumb and index finger.

Sjöblad calls these microchips "first-generation implants," and says they're "about as smart as a key badge." They are passive chips, which means that they don't have built-in power, and can't transmit location-based information. Instead, they work by connecting with a smartphone via a magnetic field, and allow an employee to wave their hand over a door lock pad and instantly gain access, among other features.

These small glass capsules—roughly the size of a grain of rice—can replace keys, key fobs, business cards, and more, by storing the data in the microchip. Sjöblad emphasizes that the encryption key is central in ensuring that individuals have privacy.

And, according to Sjöblad, these chips have the potential to give people much more control over their data.

In particular, he said he sees implications for the healthcare industry. While Fitbits have become mainstream, these chips could eventually include sensors that monitor things beyond just steps—"like blood sugar or other chemical elements," he said. "Once we can do that, we can get quality, real-time data from the body.

"This will be a revolution in healthcare," Sjöblad added.

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Dangerous Things, YouTube video

Especially for people in remote areas, the potential to access real-time health data could be a major improvement for health.

"You can simply swipe your hand with an implant and get quality data," he said. "It could democratize healthcare."


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About Hope Reese

Hope Reese is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers the intersection of technology and society, examining the people and ideas that transform how we live today.

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