The wearable technology market continues to grow each year, with smartwatches and fitness bands that can measure your heart rate now becoming the norm. However, there have been significant developments within the microchip technology field that may position this specific applied science to be the next step in wearable tech.
Microchips are far from a new technology and are in fact used in many of today’s devices. It is the same short-range radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that allows you to remotely open a car, scan to unlock office and hotel room doors, and even in your credit or debit card to make purchases. With a microchip placed under the skin, it can not only function to accomplish what was listed above with just the swipe of your hand, but can also replace your passport and other sensitive personal ID. For example, if you are injured and need to attend a hospital, all of your personal information can be accessed at a scan, including previous medical history, blood type, allergies, and emergency contact person.
Just this past June, The Telegraph reported that UK teen Bryon Wake, actually implanted a microchip into his own hand to control his mobile phone. Only 15-years-old, Wake bought a chip and an online kit that would allow him to make the surgery himself. “It’s not as though I was pumping metal into my hand,” said Wake. “Now I can set it up to go to Bluetooth device, to pair with my Bluetooth speaker.” Luckily for Wake, the teenager is actually being regarded as a future inventor, rather than slightly reckless.
What’s more, Swedish company Epicenter has also used microchip implants to allow their employees to unlock doors, access resources like the photocopier machine, and pay for food on company grounds. BBC reporter Rory Cellan-Jones actually underwent the procedure to have the chip implanted into his skin, writing in his report:
“The man making the procedure massaged the skin between my thumb and index finger and rubbed in some disinfectant. The he told me to take a deep breath while he inserted the chip. There was a moment of pain – not much worse than any injection – and then he stuck a plaster over my hand. To make it work I had to twist my hand into an unnatural position to make the photocopier work. And while some of the people around the building were looking forward to being chipped, others were distinctly dubious”.
“Overall I found it not that useful, but no doubt more sophisticated chips will soon replace wearable technology like fitness bands or payment devices, and we will get used to being augmented. All sorts of things are possible – whether it becomes culturally acceptable to insert technology beneath our skin is another matter.”
Microchip Technology as the Ultimate Step in Personal Security
One dominant appealing feature of microchip technology is that it makes physical theft virtually impossible. It seems that every year there are renewed efforts to make online systems more secure, and provisions to protect against identity theft and other privacy threats. Online stores especially, are being encouraged to move towards 256-bit SSL encryption, which is the highest standard of protection currently available. Further information on website encryption and SSL certificates can be found here.
Of course for this technology to really be useful and highly-adopted, it would require for all information such as banking info, ID, medical, mobile, etc., to be able to be accessed from a single RFID microchip, However, with social and technological development, personal identification technology can indeed be heading in this direction.