Swedish Company Implants Microchips Into Workers To Replace Swipe Cards

Eric Lieberman | Associate Editor

A Swedish company is implanting microchips in their workers to replace the conventional swipe cards used to open doors and start printers.

“The biggest benefit, I think, is convenience,” Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and chief executive of Epicenter, told the Associated Press. “It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys,” he continued, as he waved near a door to unlock it.

Epicenter, self-described as “Stockholm’s first digital House of Innovation,” essentially serves as a locational nexus for several other companies and entrepreneurs to collaborate and operate. It hosts more than 100 companies, and around 2,000 workers. Roughly 150 workers have voluntarily (and sometimes eagerly) agreed to have the chips implanted since the company started the practice in the beginning of 2015, reports the AP.

Certain members of Epicenter enthusiastically applied to have the microchip, which is roughly the size of a grain of rice, lodged in between the thumb and index finger. (RELATED: The Newest Wearable Tech Is For Women’s Breasts)

“I want to be part of the future,” 25-year-old Sandra Haglof told the AP after receiving the implant.

The implantation process reportedly doesn’t hurt, since it only takes a few seconds for a syringe to insert the microchip, and there is often no blood spill.

Despite some privacy concerns due to the exponential growth of hacking, the technology has become so popular amongst workers that Epicenter now hosts monthly events where attendees can be embedded with the microchip. (RELATED: Personal Data Collection Hits The Sports World)

“Of course, putting things into your body is quite a big step to do, and it was even for me at first,” Mesterton told the AP, adding that he originally doubted if people would be willing to give it a try. “On the other hand, I mean, people have been implanting things into their body, like pacemakers and stuff to control your heart. That’s a way, way more serious thing than having a small chip that can actually communicate with devices.”

Mesterton is referring to the specific technology of the chips, called near-field communication, which allow two devices to communicate without coming into physical contact.

Pet owners and farmers sometimes use the microchips to keep track of their animals in case they get lost or stolen. But the technology hasn’t been widely adopted for direct human use yet.

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