World’s lamest cyborg? My microchip isn’t cool now- but it could be the future

Olivia Solon felt more key fob than RoboCop after getting implanted with a microchip to construct contactless purchases. But the future could hold much more

I took two deep breaths, then a tattooed piercer called Andy stabbed me in the fleshy part of my hand between the forefinger and thumb, injecting a tiny microchip encased in a glass capsule the size of a large grain of rice. And so I became the worlds lamest cyborg.

The radio-frequency identification( RFID) chip, once registered, allows me to open doors, unlock information technology and pay for items provided those systems use the right software and have dedicated contactless chip readers.

For now, that means that I can buy a KitKat from a vending machine in the canteen of a company called Three Square Market, based on the outskirts of River Falls, Wisconsin. The company, which provides self-service micro-markets to industries around the world, became the first in the US to offer these implants to all of its employees and a handful of journalists at a chip party this week.

The idea came earlier this year when the companys vice-president of international developing, Tony Danna, visited a co-working space called Epicenter in Sweden, which has been chipping staff since 2015.

I was trying to sell them a market, but I was so intrigued by the chips, he told the Guardian.

When he came back to Wisconsin, there was a lot of exhilaration about the technology among his colleagues, and the company decided to explore its potential, starting by chipping its own employees and experimenting with build custom software to trigger a range of experiences.

When we watched it being used by other societies we supposed, why not us? said the president and COO, Patrick McMullan, while acknowledging that the applications for the technology are fairly limited. Who knew mobile phones would be what they are? Or driverless autoes? Its not only doors and self-checkouts.

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