atrick Mesterton has a microchip embedded in his hand. The chief executive of Epicentre, Stockholm’s first “house of innovation”, he was one of 60 members to voluntarily have RFID (radio frequency identification) tags implanted into their bodies last year. The size of a grain of rice, they are inserted under the skin with a syringe.“It hurt,” Mesterton says.
The microchip works like a contactless debit card or office ID pass. With the swipe of a hand, members of the 8,000 sqm Epicentre co-working hub can pay for snacks from vending machines, open electronic security doors and activate photocopiers.“Every quarter we do a ‘chip and beer’ event so members can use our systems,” Mesterton says.“For example, by using your chip you can print on-demand, instead of sensitive documents coming out when you aren’t there.”
Developed by Swedish biohacking group BioNyfiken, each implant has a unique binary number that can sync with an infinite number of readers. As the technology becomes more widespread, people will be able to gain access to their local gym, buy a sandwich from a nearby café, or send a virtual business card to a client’s smartphone. There will be no need for credit cards, keys, ID passes, metro tickets or PINs.