Technology really has no boundaries it seems. Who knew a day would come when it would quite literally get under our skin.
Our astonishment comes after more than 4,000 Swedes had microchips implanted into their hands. And no we’re not about to review a Sci-Fi movie for you!
The latest innovation in technology has led to the development of a chip designed to speed up users’ daily routines and make their lives more convenient. It does so by enabling easy access to their homes, offices and gyms by simply swiping their hands against digital readers.
Not only that but it can also store emergency contact details, social media profiles or e-tickets for events and train rides within the country.
The technology has gained such overnight popularity that Sweden’s main chipping company claims it can’t keep up with the number of requests.
The chip making company, Biohax International started by Jowan Osterlund, explains the ideology behind the technology,
“Having different cards and tokens verifying your identity to a bunch of different systems just doesn’t make sense. Using a chip means that the hyper-connected surroundings that you live in every day can be streamlined.”
Osterlund believes there are two major reasons microchips have taken off in Sweden. First, the country has always been one of the first to embrace new technology before the rest of the world.
“The more you hear about technology, the more you learn about technology, the less apprehensive you get about technology,” Osterlund elaborates.
Also he believes that citizens of Sweden are not bothered by privacy concerns unlike other countries since Sweden has always had an impeccable online infrastructure.
“Everything is hackable. But the reason to hack them will never be bigger because it’s a microchip. It’s harder for someone to get to, since you put it in you,” he said.
While advocates for the microchips claim the technology is safe and private, adversaries of the product don’t seem to agree upon it. Raising valid concerns over privacy data and its storage in the chip which is barely the size of a rice grain.
The chips are being inserted into the skin of individuals just above their thumb, using a syringe similar to the ones for vaccinations. The whole chip implanting procedure costs around $180
Users like Erik Frisk, a 30-year-old Web developer and designer, have nothing but praises for the technology.
“It’s just completely passive, it has no energy source or anything. So when you tap it against a reader, the chip sends back an ID that tells the reader which chip it is,” he explains. “Swedes are very pragmatic and the chip is useful … and since a lot of people know each other in the tech community — it’s very tight — [the trend has] been spreading and people have seen the benefits,”
Another user shared her experience saying it lets her share her LinkedIn details at networking events. All she has to do is simply touch another person’s smartphone and the information is transferred.
“When another phone reads the chip, they see the [link] and they can open it in the phone browser,” “The chip basically solves my problems,” says Szilvia Varszegi, 28,
Ben Libberton, a concerned British scientist residing in southern Sweden, however is among those wary of the technology.
“What is happening now is relatively safe. But if it’s used everywhere, if every time you want to do something and instead of using a card you use your chip, it could be very, very easy to let go of [personal] information,” he says.
“Because it’s implanted in your body, when more health-related information starts being used and incorporated into the chip and being transmitted — that could create an extra layer of privacy that we really need to look at and take care of before it’s widely used,” Libberton said.
However despite these objections, there seems to be no end to this trend as a next generation chip with 2KB of memory, a range of new functions and an LED light designed to improve privacy by blinking if someone tries to read or access an implant is already in the works.