A Wisconsin vending machine company has become the first company in the United States to offer its employees voluntary microchip implants. Three Square Market (32M) say the RFID chips will be implanted under the skin between the thumb and the forefinger and could be used to buy snacks, open doors or log into office computers.
“Employees will be implanted with a [Radio-Frequency Identification] chip allowing them to make purchases in their break room micro market, open doors, login to computers, use the copy machine, etc.,” according to a press release from 32M.
The company, which employs 85 people, says it expects more than 50 of its employees to volunteer to be chipped. Each RFID chip costs about $300 and the company is covering the expenses. The chip is as small as a grain of rice and uses electromagnetic fields to communicate, similar to contactless credit cards, and can be read at a distance of no more than 6 inches (15 cm).
The general radio-frequency identification (RFID) market has seen substantial growth over the last few years. One of the key factors behind this growth is the increasing penetration of RFID technology in new industries, like the vending machine market. According to the latest market research on the topic, the RFID market is expected to be worth at USD 31.4 billion by 2023.
Anticipating privacy and security concerns, 32M have provided an FAQ list for its employees. According to the list, the data is encrypted and will only contain the information employees choose to link to them.
The company's CEO Todd Westby in a statement predicted the technology could become popular among other companies. “Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.," he said.
The implants are created by BioHax International, a company based in Sweden.
Would you be interested in employer-provided microchip security implants?
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(Image Credit - USA Today)