At the newly opened Epicenter office complex in central Stockholm, workers no longer need a badge or pass code to open doors: a microchip implanted in their hand does the trick.
The radio-frequency identification or RFID chip is made of pyrex glass and contains an antenna and microchip, with no need for batteries.
It allows carriers to open doors, operate a photocopier or swap contact details via a smartphone.
Co-founder and CEO of the high-tech office complex, which is home to innovative companies large and small, Patrick Mesterton says it is the ideal location to test such technology.
“The chip is the size of the larger rice grain – it’s about twelve millimetres in size. It’s put in with a syringe and it sends an RFID code, so it’s an identification tool that can communicate with objects around you. So here, you can open doors using your chip, you can do secure printing from our printers with your chip but you can also communicate with your mobile phone by sending your business card to individuals that you meet,” he explains.
While the current range of benefits the chip offers is rather limited, its makers say the aim is to explore possible uses and see how products and services can be developed around the technology. It’s hoped in the future, workers equipped with the chip will be able to purchase food in the canteen and even get health checks.
“Some of the future areas of use – I think, like anything today where you would use a pin code or a key or a card, payments is one area. I think, also, for health care reasons, that you can sort of communicate with your doctor and you can get data on what you eat and what your physical status is,” says Patrick Mesterton.
The chipping is entirely voluntary and, according to its manufacturers, completely safe. But it raises concern among civil liberty groups, worried that such technology is not hacker-safe and could be used without the wearers’ consent to track their whereabouts of gain access to private information.