Get identified under your skin!
There are movies that trigger your brain of a possible invention that
might take shape. This happens every time you watch a Science-fiction
movie you wonder, THIS is something that can be explored! There have
been movies in the past that have shown the possibilities of planting a
gadget inside a human to track his/her daily activities. If that idea
has already triggered you of a possible invention, and you are on the
edge of dismissing that as a distant dream, think again! You could be
just on your way to getting yourself identified by surgically
implanting yourself with a rice-grain sized chip under your skin thanks
to a VeriChip.
Now, whats a VeriChip?
Applied Digital Solutions Inc, a company
into RFID applications, end-to-end food safety systems, GPS/Satellite
communications, and telecomm and security infrastructure, has come up
with a unique solution called the VeriChip. This chip is a subdermal
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) device that can be used in a
variety of security, financial, emergency identification and other
applications. About the size of a grain of rice, each VeriChip product
contains a unique verification number. When this chip senses one of
Verichip's proprietary scanners, it gets activated and transmits a
unique ID number to the scanner. If the number matches an ID number in
a database, the person with the chip under his or her skin can enter a
secured room, complete a financial transaction, get his medical records
According to Applied Digital, this technology
has been around for a while. Digital Angel, a sister concern of Applied
Digital has been selling these identification chips for about 15 years
now. but most of them have until now been used only for identifying
animals like household pets and livestock. The U.S. Department of
Energy has also been using this technology to monitor salmon migration.
Whats more these chips can last for a whooping 20 years!
Tracking chips for humans
Applied Digital says that the idea for
using these chips to identify humans came after the horrifying
incidents of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and
the Pentagon. While watching the post disaster coverage on TV, Richard
Seelig, Vice President of medical applications at Applied Digital, saw
how firemen were writing their badge numbers on their arm with pen so
that they could be identified in the event of a disaster. He then
inserted one of these chips under his skin and tested their viability
and was quite amazed at how perfectly they performed. As of now, about
9,000 VeriChips have been sold, of which about 1,500 have been inserted
into humans. This number will soon increase, since even Federal Drug
Administration (FDA) has cleared VeriChip for medical applications in
the United States. However FDA hasnt yet cleared this device for usage
in security, financial, personal identification and safety
applications. It might not be long when these chips make their way into
other parts of the world.
Well, speaking of other parts of
the world, the Mexican Police Department has already chipped all of
their personnel. The Italian Ministry of Health has also started a
six-month trial of these chips for hospitals. The Baja Beach Club in
Spain has also used them as electronic wallets to buy drinks and pay
for usage of other facilities at their club. Most sales of these chips
have taken place outside the US in Russia, Switzerland, Venezuela and
How do you get micro chip under your skin?
authorized medical practitioner or surgeon can implant this
11-millimeter RFID chip in the fatty tissue below your right tricep.
This chipping procedure lasts just a few minutes and involves the use
of only a local anesthetic followed by quick, painless insertion of the
VeriChip. Once its inserted under your skin, not even you can tell
whether you have an RFID chip implanted there. So where does the chip
get its energy? Well, you dont have to worry about that. This chip is
dormant most of the time and wakes up only when you pass your skin over
an external proprietary scanner. When you do this, a small amount of
radio frequency energy passes through the skin energizing the chip. The
chip then emits a radio frequency signal containing the verification
number. This number is then deciphered by the scanner and transmitted
to a secure data storage site accessed by authorized personnel via
telephone or Internet. "It is used instead of other biometric
applications such as fingerprints, says Angela Fulcher, Vice President
Marketing and Sales, VeriChip Corporation. Implanting these chips would
cost about $150 - $200 per person.
What more can you do with it?
VeriChip can be used for many applications than just verifying medical
records. In this fast changing world everything is technology enhanced,
and places that spell technology also invite unethical and illegal
activities such as counterfeiting, identity theft, unauthorized access,
etc. The VeriChip can be used for personal identity verification so the
chip could contain your biometric information and the scanners would
read your chip and grant access to a special area that only you are
supposed to access. Other applications could include but are not
limited to controlling access to Intellectual Property, managing and
tracking physical and intellectual assets, providing physical access to
control solutions, enabling innovative time and attendance systems,
providing automated data collection and monitoring platforms and much
more. The chip with GPS (Global Positioning System) capabilities could
also be implanted into children, so that it becomes easier for the
Police Department to trace them out, in events of kidnapping.
could also be used to find lost pets or keep track of endangered
wildlife, as well as find lost or stolen property. It could also be
used as a means for security such as, airport security, authorization
for access to government buildings, laboratories, correctional
facilities and the like. Convicted criminals or possible terrorists
could also be tracked with this technology and prevent future attacks
Is anything wrong with it?
seems to have no adverse side effects to its wearer, there are quite a
few concerns over its usage pattern. One of the biggest disadvantages
is the invasion of privacy of the user. People wouldnt really like
scanners scanning them for personal information wherever they go or
satellites tracking them across the globe. One of the major concerns
could be about third parties gaining information on the Internet
through either hacking or by selling sensitive data to unknown people.
You might use these chips to safeguard your children from kidnappers,
but there are possibilities of these chips being surgically removed and
being disabled by kidnappers. There is also the possibilitiy that
convicted criminals could remove the chips so authorities would be
unable to track them. Most people fear an invasion of privacy as the
greatest fault of implanting microchips. A recent CNN poll said that
about 76% of Americans said they would not want a device like VeriChip
implanted on their children, while 24% suggested they would.
the amount of securities this chip might offer is overwhelming, at the
same time the device seems weighed down by numerous concerns including
invasion of privacy. Only time will tell whether this invention takes
off or just bites the dust.