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Office complex implants RFID chips in employees' hands

Lucas Mearian | Feb. 9, 2015
Workers volunteer to get the implants.

RFID chip on hand
An RFID chip like this one is being implanted in the hands of Swedish office workers to enable access through security doors and to even pay for lunch in the cafeteria. Credit: Creative Commons license via Computerworld.

The corporate tenants of a Swedish high-tech office complex are having RFID NFC chips implanted in their hands, enabling access through security doors, as well as services such as copy machines, all without PIN codes or swipe cards.

The employees working at Epicenter, a 15,000-square-foot building in Stockholm, can even pay for lunch using their implants -- just as they would with the swipe of a credit card.

The owners of Epicenter say they want the facility to be a "magnet for fast growing digital companies and cutting-edge creative corporate initiatives."

"The fact that some people at the Epicenter office have chosen to replace their key fobs with NFC implants is their own personal choice," said Hannes Sjöblad, founder of Bionyfiken, a Swedish association of Biohackers. "It's a small, but indeed fast-growing, fraction which has chosen to try it out."

Sjöblad said there are also several other offices, companies, gyms and education institutions in Stockholm where people access the facilities with implanted RFID chips with NFC (near field communication).

The RFID implants are a bit larger than a grain of rice, and Sjöblad's group tested the chips last year. Bionyfiken has just launched a nationwide study on NFC/RFIC implants.

The goal of the Bionyfiken project is to create a user community of at least 100 people with NFC implants who experiment with and help develop possible uses.

For example, applications could expand beyond access and include employee ID and location tracking.

Participants in the Bionyfiken project normally pay for their own implants. There are even "implant parties," that involve from eight to 15 "implantees" and a bit of socializing around the experience.

BioNyfiken is also working to change public perception and educate people on the idea that subdermal implants are not only harmless but, in fact, useful in everyday life.

The fast-growing Bionyfiken RFID implant community is made up by a diverse group of people who see "experimenting with technology as a natural way of life," the organization's webpage states.

"The chips are easy to insert and just as easy to remove. The life length of a chip implant is long. I expect mine to last for 10-plus years, but likely I will want a newer model before that time," Sjöblad said.

Sjöblad believes getting an RFID implant is a highly personal choice "as it relates to individual integrity, which both I and my fellow Swedes consider highly important."

 

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