Employees of U.S. company will soon all be microchipped ... voluntarily

Updated 2017-07-25 16:14:16 Xinhua

In this era in which artificial intelligence is leaping towards its heyday, electronic devices that are wearable -- such as the Google glass -- are nothing new. But what about those that can be implanted into human bodies?

For some, becoming half-human, half-robot may be a trendy fashion in the future, while for others, a nightmare so bizarre that it could only happen in fiction movies.

Whatever you may think, a company in the northern U.S. state of Wisconsin is offering to implant microchips into its employees' hands -- in real life and for free.

Three Square Market, which designs softwares for self-service micro markets commonly seen at workplaces or in places like metro stations, said everyone in the company will volunteer to do it soon.

So far, 50 out of 85 employees in the company's head office have applied to take the chance, the company said. The implantation starts on Aug. 1.

Once microchipped, the employees will be able to open office doors and log onto computers using their bare hands. The item, worth 300 U.S. dollars, will also allow staff to access copy machines and purchase at kiosks.

The chips are equipped with radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, which uses electromagnetic fields to identify electronically stored information -- one widespread application of it being the credit card.

Each having a size of a single rice grain, the chips are implanted between a person's thumb and forefinger in an "easy in, easy out" way, according to Tony Donna, the company's vice-president of international development.

"It's about two seconds to put it in and to take it out," Donna told the BBC, adding that putting in is "like getting a shot" using a syringe, while taking it out is like removing a splinter.

As far as personal security and privacy are concerned, Todd Westby, chief executive officer of the company, said the data is both encrypted and secure. "There's no GPS tracking at all," he added.

The invention is in collaboration with Swedish company BioHax. The Nordic country has a reputation for the high-degree popularity of cash-free electronic payment nationwide.

"Eventually, this (RFID) technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc." Westby said in a statement.

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