Thousands Of Swedes Are Inserting Microchips Under Their Skin

In Sweden, a country rich with technological advancement, thousands have had microchips inserted into their hands.

The chips are designed to speed up users’ daily routines and make their lives more convenient — accessing their homes, offices and gyms is as easy as swiping their hands against digital readers.

More than 4,000 Swedes have adopted the technology, with one company, Biohax International, dominating the market. The chipping firm was started five years ago by Jowan Osterlund, a former professional body piercer.

Many early adopters come from Stockholm’s thriving startup scene. Erik Frisk, a 30-year-old Web developer and designer, says he was really curious about the technology as soon as he heard about it and decided to get his own chip in 2014.

Sweden’s largest train company has started allowing commuters to use chips instead of tickets, and there’s talk that the chips could soon be used to make payments in shops and restaurants.

Swedes are used to sharing personal information, with many online purchases and administrative bodies requiring their social security numbers. Mobile phone numbers are widely available in online search databases, and people can easily look up each other’s salaries by calling the tax authority.

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Tooth-mounted trackers could be the next fitness wearables

Tooth-mounted trackers that keep a tally on how much food and calories people consume could be the next frontier in fitness monitoring. A research team is already experimenting with the tooth sensors at the Tufts University Biomedical Engineering Department.

“We have extended common RFID [radiofrequency ID] technology to a sensor package that can dynamically read and transmit information on its environment, whether it is affixed to a tooth, to skin, or any other surface,” Fiorenzo Omenetto, Ph.D., corresponding author and the Frank C. Doble Professor of Engineering at Tufts said in a statement.

The sensors looks like custom microchips stuck to the tooth. They are flexible, tiny squares — ranging from 4 mm by 4 mm to an even smaller size of about 2 mm by 2 mm — that are applied directly to human teeth. Each one has three active layers made of titanium and gold, with a middle layer of either silk fibers or water-based gels.

In small-scale studies, four human volunteers wore sensors, which had silk as the middle “detector” layer, on their teeth and swished liquids around in their mouths to see if the sensors would function. The researchers were testing for sugar and for alcohol.

The tiny squares successfully sent wireless signals to tablets and cell phone devices.

In one of their first experiments, the chip could tell the difference between solutions of purified water, artificial saliva, 50 percent alcohol and wood alcohol. It would then wirelessly signal to a nearby receiver via radiofrequency, similar to how EZ Passes work…

Swedish railway uses microchip implants

Sweden’s state-owned rail operator SJ is allowing passengers to use microchip implants rather than conventional tickets. The idea is currently being trialed just among some SJ members. It means all they need to travel is their left hand and the small microchip implanted in it. Authorities believe implanting the microchip will make the train journey more convenient.

SJ claims to be the first travel company in the world to enable passengers to use microchip implants to validate their tickets. The small implants use Near Field Communication technology, the same tech used in contactless credit cards or mobile payments.

Implanting microchips under the skin is becoming increasingly popular in Sweden. But experts warn there are security and privacy issues to consider.