There are movies that entertain you, frighten you, and enlighten you. There are movies that trigger your brain of a possible invention that might take shape. This happens every time you watch a Science-fiction movie you wonder, THIS is something that can be explored! There have been movies in past that have shown possibilities of planting a gadget inside a human to track his/her daily activities. If that idea has already triggered you of a possible invention, and you are on edge of dismissing that as a distant dream, think again! You could be just on your way to getting yourself identified by surgically implanting yourself with a rice-grain sized chip under your skin thanks to a VeriChip.
Now, whats a VeriChip?
Applied Digital Solutions Inc, a company into RFID applications, end-to-end food safety systems, GPS/Satellite communications, and telecomm and security infrastructure, has come up with a unique solution called VeriChip. This chip is a subdermal RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) device that can be used in a variety of security, financial, emergency identification and other applications. About size of a grain of rice, each VeriChip product contains a unique verification number. When this chip senses one of Verichip's proprietary scanners, it gets activated and transmits a unique ID number to scanner. If number matches an ID number in a database, person with chip under his or her skin can enter a secured room, complete a financial transaction, get his medical records verified, etc.
According to Applied Digital, this technology has been around for a while. Digital Angel, a sister concern of Applied Digital has been selling these identification chips for about 15 years now. but most of them have until now been used only for identifying animals like household pets and livestock. The U.S. Department of Energy has also been using this technology to monitor salmon migration. Whats more these chips can last for a whooping 20 years!
So why use it on humans?
Applied Digital says that idea for using these chips to identify humans came after horrifying incidents of Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon. While watching post disaster coverage on TV, Richard Seelig, Vice President of medical applications at Applied Digital, saw how firemen were writing their badge numbers on their arm with pen so that they could be identified in event of a disaster. He then inserted one of these chips under his skin and tested their viability and was quite amazed at how perfectly they performed. As of now, about 9,000 VeriChips have been sold, of which about 1,500 have been inserted into humans. This number will soon increase, since even Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared VeriChip for medical applications in United States. However FDA hasnt yet cleared this device for usage in security, financial, personal identification and safety applications. It might not be long when these chips make their way into other parts of world.
Well, speaking of other parts of world, Mexican Police Department has already chipped all of their personnel. The Italian Ministry of Health has also started a six-month trial of these chips for hospitals. The Baja Beach Club in Spain has also used them as electronic wallets to buy drinks and pay for usage of other facilities at their club. Most sales of these chips have taken place outside US in Russia, Switzerland, Venezuela and Colombia.
How do you get it under your skin?
An authorized medical practitioner or surgeon can implant this 11-millimeter RFID chip in fatty tissue below your right tricep. This chipping procedure lasts just a few minutes and involves use of only a local anesthetic followed by quick, painless insertion of VeriChip. Once its inserted under your skin, not even you can tell whether you have an RFID chip implanted there. So where does chip get its energy? Well, you dont have to worry about that. This chip is dormant most of time and wakes up only when you pass your skin over an external proprietary scanner. When you do this, a small amount of radio frequency energy passes through skin energizing chip. The chip then emits a radio frequency signal containing verification number. This number is then deciphered by scanner and transmitted to a secure data storage site accessed by authorized personnel via telephone or Internet. "It is used instead of other biometric applications such as fingerprints, says Angela Fulcher, Vice President Marketing and Sales, VeriChip Corporation. Implanting these chips would cost about $150 - $200 per person.