It reads like a script from The Net, or The Matrix, and it is perhaps an inevitable reality in our future, but what does it mean to implant an NFC chip into your body and be truly traceable?
In the here-and-now, not much other than if you have an interest in technology, but the potential applications are plentiful. Robert Nelson is into gadgets and has been dabbling in technology for a number of years. With that infatuation, Nelson figured it would be a positive step in connectedness to implant an NFC chip in his left hand.
Acquiring the chip, and its associated implant kit, was the easy part. Supplied by a company called Dangerous Things, $100 gets you a sterile injection syringe loaded with the company’s 13.56MHz NTAG216 RFID chip which is fully NFC compatible. It measures about 12mm long and 2mm in diameter. The casing is ostensibly bio-compatible, but none of Dangerous Things’ products have been tested or certified for any type of use in the body by the FDA or any other regulatory body.
Actually finding a place to implant the chip turned out to be a little of a challenge. The implant process itself is simple, but it is not a “do-it-yourself” job. Dangerous Things recommends going to a tattoo or piercing shop for implantation. Nelson has not endured any ill-effects (infections or otherwise) since the procedure.
So what magical things is Nelson able to do now that he’s got this gadget in his hand? Well since this part of the connected world is embryonic, used primarily by those who would think on a “body-hacker” line of thought, he is able to unlock his smartphone just by picking it up. Now that his hand is fully healed however, Nelson is thinking of enabling the ability to unlock his house, open the garage door, or unlock his car. He is also thinking about doubling up on his capacity by getting another chip implanted in his right hand.
Placing the tin-foil-hat arguments aside for a moment, this technology is a stepping stone into truly amazing technology, bio-enabled verification for finger-print based payments, bio-confirmed log-unlock, security applications, health-care data, health and exercise monitoring, the list is very long. On the flip side of that, the tin-foil-hat arguments are highly relevant, ensuring that there are safeguards against the new wave of bio-hacking that will invariably accompany this technology is an obstacle that must relentlessly squashed if mainstream society ever warms up to this idea.
Dangerous Things has a companion app in Google Play to establish functionality, unlike many other NFC apps, Dangerous NFC will support 32-bit password protection, and it will also ensure that the implanted chip cannot be placed in a “forever locked” state.
As to answering the actual question why, Nelson says he does not have a good answer. For this level of technology, genuine curiosity is perfectly acceptable, but he does not recommend anyone do the same for the same reason.
ADVISORY: We do not sanction, nor do we promote, anyone to implant anything, NFC chip or not, in their body for any reason, whatsoever. Be mindful of the decisions you make and know that the responsibility, should you choose to embed an NFC chip in your body, is yours and yours alone.
PHOTO ADVISORY: We left out the picture that showed a little blood, but the second-to-last image shows the syringe inserted in the hand, so if you have a weak stomach for such sights, pass.
Dangerous Things - Implantable RFID chip
sources: Connectedly, Robert Nelson (Google+), and Dangerous Things