VOLUNTEERS IN MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA LIVING WITH EMBEDDED MICROCHIPS AS TECHNOLOGICAL PROVING GROUND FOR MASS PRODUCTION

by Geoffrey Grider, Now The End Begins:

Ten volunteers received a microchip at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne on Wednesday to mark the launch of Pause Fest, a technology and culture festival now in its eighth year. Their chips were preloaded with a three-day pass to the festival and will be programmed to unlock the door to their home, gym, or workplace, or potentially to function as their public transport pass.

THE MICROCHIP IS ABOUT THE SIZE OF A GRAIN OF RICE AND USUALLY INSERTED IN THE WEBBING BETWEEN THE THUMB AND FOREFINGER USING A NEEDLE THE SAME THICKNESS AS USED IN BODY PIERCING.

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:16,17 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: It started with a barely noticeable trickle a few years ago in remote regions of Sweden, and now is expanding to nearly every major technology-based country. Using workers as test samples, insertable microchips track their every movement, allows them to make purchases from vending machines, with all the collected data analyzed and fed into the system. Our story today tells you about ten volunteers in Australia who were chipped in connection with attending a technology convention called Pause Fest. The festival is four months away, and they will use their chips to purchase train tickets, swipe into their gym access, unlock doors, and then attend the festival all through chip access. The data collected from their four months of living with the microchips will be assembled and studied to see how this technology could be applied on a global scale. The race to see which country figures it out first is on.

It feels, says insertable technology expert Kayla Heffernan, like getting a drip. Once the needle is removed the incision heals in a few days and the microchip remains, allowing the wearer to open doors with the brush of a hand – provided they only wish to access one particular place.

Commercially available insertable microchips are only large enough to hold one access code and a small amount of other information, so the days of replacing an entire wallet and keychain with a tiny computer under the skin are not yet upon us. The future is coming, but it’s not in a rush.

Ten volunteers received a microchip at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne on Wednesday to mark the launch of Pause Fest, a technology and culture festival now in its eighth year.

Their chips were preloaded with a three-day pass to the festival and will be programmed to unlock the door to their home, gym, or workplace, or potentially to function as their public transport pass.

WORKERS GET IMPLANTED MICROCHIPS FOR ACCESS:

WHEN THE FESTIVAL IS HELD IN FOUR MONTHS TIME, THE VOLUNTEERS WILL TAKE PART IN A PANEL WITH HEFFERNAN TO TALK ABOUT WHETHER THEY FOUND THE CHIPS USEFUL.

Heffernan has had one microchip between her thumb and forefinger for almost 18 months, which she uses to unlock her front door. She got another on the outer edge of her other hand last November to access her office at Melbourne University.

She is doing a PhD on the applications of insertable technology and decided to get a chip after a year spent listening to people wax lyrical about the convenience of never having to carry their keys.

“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,” Heffernan says. World’s lamest cyborg? My microchip isn’t cool now – but it could be the future

“Some people use it to unlock their phones or their computers. 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’s original chip usually contains a link to her website, which people can access if they scan her hand with their phone, provided they have the near-field communication (NFC) capabilities switched on. At the moment it just says “hello” because she is demonstrating that it could be reprogrammed.

The security risk, she says, is quite low.

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