David Papp Blog

“The Internet of Us” – How One Company is Embracing RFID

It only takes seconds to become a cyborg.

Jowan Osterlund has helped more than 1500 people make the leap.  And he does it with tiny, rice-sized capsules. Each has its own power source and microchip that transmits information by RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). At one festival, the biohacker and body piercing specialist even injected tiny, glowing LED lights in the arms of enthusiastic attendees.

The ID chip is injected into the fleshy part of the hand between the thumb and forefinger with a syringe. The tiny capsules feature NFC technology (Near Field Communications).  Only a device centimeters away can read any information.

Transforming the Workspace

Stockholm’s Epicenter now offers its members digital chips. The modern workspace serves hundreds of digital companies and fast-growing start-ups. Members include both individual entrepreneurs and larger companies like Coca Cola, Merck, and Spotify.Those with chips can now open doors, make copies on the machine, and buy coffee with a simple wave of the hand.

Belgian tech firm New Fusion also provides chips as a badge alternative. And Swedish railways are testing a program allowing passengers to board trains with chips.

Information right at your fingertips

Osterlund, owner of Federal Body Piercing and CEO of BioHax International, sees this as just the beginning. As more humans embrace the convenience of chipping, businesses will start accommodating the new technology.

We won’t have to carry around credit cards, plane tickets, or cash. We won’t even have to type computer passwords. Travel and work processes will be streamlined. And think about future possibilities of tracking children or elderly relatives … monitoring health habits … or having medical records on hand in case of emergency.

Convenience at a price

Although BioHax chips only allow radio signals to be picked up very closeby, there are valid concerns. We’ve already seen credit cards hacked.

Walk into any department store. You’ll find protective sleeves embedded in wallets and card-holders everywhere. The answer?  Security measures must be developed.  Users will want to know that the person shaking hands or brushing past in a crowd can’t swipe important confidential information.

And while North Americans have been quick to tag pets, there’s still a general reluctance to tag and chip humans.

When the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved VeriChip for medical use in 2004. California almost immediately began passing laws restricting its use. By 2010, the company, now PositiveID, had abandoned its ID program and was focusing on medical applications of RFID implants.

How about you?

Are you ready to take the cyborg plunge?

Joel Osterlund doesn’t seem to be worried. He’s moving “digital evolution” forward at each conference …

or as BioHax puts it …

“Turning the Internet of Things into the Internet of Us!”