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.
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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Hope Reese has nothing to disclose. She doesn't hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Hope Reese is a journalist in Louisville, KY. Her writing has been featured in The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Playboy, Undark Magazine, VICE, Vox, and other publications.