Swedish Startup Epicenter offers its workers to implant microchips between their thumb and index finger, allowing them to open doors, operate equipment, and even buy smoothies just by waving their hand.

No larger than a grain of rice, the chips are implanted with a syringe on willful employees. The chips have become so immensely useful and popular that Epicenter’s “cyborgs” hold parties for those that have the chips on their hands and offer free “chipping” to those who have not received the implant.

Employers to install a chip on their employees’ bodies

Patrick Mesterton, Epicenter’s CEO, believes that the greatest benefit to installing microchips on his colleagues is the convenience of replacing keys and credit cards with a gesture. The chips were initially devised as pet accessories and package trackers. Now, they are used to tag employees.

It is sufficient to say that a company implanting a microchip on someone raises privacy concerns. These chips can register exactly how an employee interacts with the business while also keeping a record of what they buy, what resources do they use, and so on. Because the chip cannot be removed so easily, it can be easily used as an “employee tracking device.”

Epicenter's microchip Implant X-ray
And X-Ray of an Epicenter employee’s microchip implants reveals its location between the index finger and the thumb. Image Source: Pinterest

“Of course, putting things into your body is quite a big step to do and it was even for me at first. But then, on the other hand, I mean, people have been implanting things into their body, like pacemakers and stuff to control your heart. That’s a way, way more serious thing than having a small chip that can actually communicate with devices,” stated Mesterton, even though a pacemaker is a device intended for improving a person’s state of health and it is installed by a physician.

A company’s chip is a tool for interacting with equipment and for potentially monitoring activity. The chips use the same technology that most modern mobile payment methods employ, activating whenever there is a reader a few inches apart.

One of the biggest problems is that hackers could get a lot of information if they manage to get a company’s microchip. The risks will also match the convenience of chip technology with possible health issues. Even if security protocols are included within the chip’s programming, things could go south regarding functionality.

A chip could provide data on the person’s health, places frequented, working schedule and frequency

“You can do airline fares with it, you can also go to your local gym … so it basically replaces a lot of things you have other communication devices for, whether it be credit cards, or keys, or things like that,” stated Mesterton.

The man behind the implanting in Epicenter is Jowan Osterlund, a “body hacker” from Biohax Sweden. He uses pre-loaded syringes, and within a few seconds, the chip is inserted. Osterlund believes that future steps will have more sophisticated electronics implanted in the body.

Perhaps some companies will eventually require new employees to get a chip inserted, and if the employee leaves the job, then the chip will get removed. They could serve as helpful tools for access, but one can not help but wonder how these technological advances could be exploited by criminals and bosses alike.

Source: Associated Press