The effort to mainstream the practice of “chipping”—inserting a radio frequency identification, or RFID, chip under the skin of one’s hand—continued this week with a new report from The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom.
The article focused on Melbourne University student Kayla Heffernan, who is doing her doctoral work on “the applications of insertable technology.” She has had an RFID microchip, roughly the size of a large grain of rice, inserted in her hand for more than 18 months, which she uses in lieu of a key for the front door of her home.
"If I want I can just walk out without any keys, my key is in my hand so I can’t forget it, which is handy because I have locked myself out before. Some people use it to unlock their phones or their computers," she said. " Some people have modified their cars and one person even their motorbike, so it’s not only access to their house but it’s access to their vehicle and to turn it on. Obviously that requires quite a bit of microelectronics and physical mechanical work, and that’s not accessible for everyone."
Heffernan said she liked it so much, she got a second RFID chip inserted in another part of her hand that she uses to access her office at the university. That chip is also programmed with her website, which is her form of a digital handshake,but is only handy if the other person’s smartphone has its near-field communications function turned on.
The Guardian’s report also highlighted Pause Fest, a three-day futurism forum in February, ahead of which a group of volunteers were “chipped” with RFIDs that will act as their pass to events at the conference, as well as key to their hotel rooms.