Innovation

How implanted microchips are extending IoT from objects to human beings

TechRepublic talked to a biohacker in Sweden to see a live demo of how a microchip implanted in his hand can turn on a smartphone.

With the dawn of microchip implants, the Internet of Things (IoT) has suddenly ventured into new territory, connecting not just "things" but real human beings. Hannes Sjöblad, a Swedish biohacker, has created RFID microchips that can be implanted in someone's hand, which a company in Sweden is doing—on a voluntary basis—to give employees easier access to buildings and other information that would traditionally be accessed via key fob.

So how does the implanted chip actually work? It can power anything that is battery operated, from your vehicle to an electric toothbrush. In this video interview with TechRepublic, Sjöblad describes exactly how to use the microchip. When he makes a fist and swipes his smartphone with it, for example, a website instantly pops up.

"The implant can work as a trigger for anything," Sjöblad told TechRepublic. "You could touch your phone and it could call your partner, or an emergency number."

Sjöblad brought up another interesting potential use for the implant—personalizing access to something like a weapon. This could ensure that only a designated person would be able to access it. "It couldn't get into, literally, the wrong hands," he said.

Sweden may be on the cutting edge of the microchip trend for employees, but it's not the only country to test it out—according to TechRepublic's Alison DeNisco, a US-based company called 32M is preparing to implant microchips in about 50 members of its staff (who have volunteered) in River Falls, WI next month.

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Image: Three Square Marketplace

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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