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How microchips work that are implanted under the skin and allow you to pay without cash or a card – BBC News

Dave Williams’s small backstroke is the size of a grain of rice between his thumb and forefinger. He is barely noticeable, but when he opens the door of his house with her, he becomes the center of attention.

This British software engineer who works for Mozilla has a microchip built into it, a tablet-like electronic circuit that works with wireless technology.

“I have a very bad memory,” he told the BBC. That is why he decided to introduce this small device that allows him not to panic if he forgets the keys to the house.

This is the same chip that Fashion in Sweden and in other western countries like Germany, Australia and New Zealandwhere several initiatives have been taken to promote this futuristic technology.

But the case of Sweden pays special attention. Thousands of people in the Scandinavian nation – some 3000According to the AFP report for May of this year, microchips are already embedded. Although this figure is likely to be even higher.

“More people in Sweden are embedding RFID chips in their hands and using them to unlock the doors tickets to travel and even make payments"Says BBC World Ben Libberton, MD, who works in the MAX IV laboratory in Lund, in southern Sweden.

Microchips are the size of a grain of rice.

"Convenient" system

RFID, in contrast to a barcode, allows remote access to the information contained in it. It is used in anti-theft labels, in ski resorts, as well as in"Identification chips" for pets,

They are also implemented on most smartphones and contactless cards, as well as in electronic passports.

But in recent years, its use in humans has acquired particular significance. Sweden is leading this trend.

The topic began to release headlines in 2015when Epicenter, a high-tech company based in Stockholm, caused some controversy, announcing that it was going to collect chips for its employees.

With a twisted wrist, employees could access the building, use a photocopier or pay for coffee.

“The biggest advantage is convenience”, said co-founder and director of the company Patrick Mesterton in 2017. "It allows you to replace many things, such as a credit card or keys."

Epicenter employee
Chips can be used to activate the copier.

Pay by hand

Chips allow you to implement payments contactless (without contact)specially designed in Sweden, where hardly 1% of the value of all transactions made in 2016 was made in cash.

Some of these transactions are made on trains.

The national railway company SJ – the largest in the country – This is the first in the world to accept this type of payment.

When a reviewer passes, some passengers put their hand next to using their smartphoneA train ticket seems a thing of the past.

contactless microchip payment on a train from Sweden
On this train you can pay by hand.

Every person who has a microchip, such as in his hand, must first register with the company in order to get a number and pay.

Stephen Ray, director of communications at SJ, knows the system very well because he has a microchip implanted under the skin of his hand.

Thus, the reviewer's mobile phone screen indicates that the passenger has paid for the ticket and shows him his number and his name.

microchip implanted in hand
The microchip is placed under the skin, between the index finger and the thumb.


“The only information that SJ reads from tickets for microchips is the membership number in the SJ loyalty program,” says Ray BBC Mando.

"This number he is not considered confidential and customer confidentiality is guaranteed from our point of view, ”he adds.

At the moment, this technology is used only in your company for regional trips. But the plan is that it covers much more.

However, Ray explains that "It will never be mandatory" for its customers to introduce these chips and that "they are considered only asadditional servicethat we still see as a test project. ”

Stephen Ray
Stephen Ray from the SJ manufacturing company has a chip implanted in his hand.

Stephen says the idea is to extend this initiative to other areas (and other payments) of everyday life, such as a credit card.

However, not all favor microchips or have such an optimistic vision.

“This technology reduces the number of cards and devices they need,“ miniaturizes ”, which makes it impossible to lose them,” says Libberton BBC Mando.

But a microbiologist warns that he is worried about how chips can violate the privacy and security of those who use them.

“Since these chips are integrated into more digital services, they discover more data if they are compromised.” This is a weak moment when it comes to security ", He explains.

"Imagine if you use it to unlock your home or access to your bank account"I fear that its convenience will ease the leakage of important data."

And leave the question in the air: “The risks will be even greater when they begin to include biological data to chips. If the company knows more than you about your own health, What are the ethical implications and who decides the rules? "concludes.

Microchip next to a wooden match
Their size is tiny, but they can contain a large amount of data.

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