Wisconsin Company Tests Injectable RFID Tech for Contactless Payments, Access Control

A Wisconsin-based company is inviting employees to inject RFID microchips into their bodies to let them make purchases and access secure areas, and many are signing on, reports The New York Times.

Wisconsin Company Tests Injectable RFID Tech for Contactless Payments, Access ControlCalled Three Squared Market, the company offers businesses vending machines and miniature shops tailored to their specific needs. In pursuing radical new payment technologies, the company had evidently opted to test them on itself, offering volunteers the chance to inject a tiny RFID transmitter – developed by Swedish firm Biohax – between their thumb and index finger that will then allow them to unlock doors and make payments just by waving their hands. So far, well over half of the company’s 80 staff members have signed up.

Is this the next frontier in contactless access control and payment technology? It’s clearly more intrusive than other emerging solutions such as virtual keys on smartphones and fingerprint readers that connect biometric data to payment information. Speaking to the Times, Carnegie Mellon IT and public policy professor Alessandro Acquisti notes that the touted data encryption on Three Square’s chips could still offer significant security vulnerabilities, and notes that such technology could later be used for purposes that subjects aren’t so comfortable with, such as monitoring bathroom breaks. But some of Three Squared Market’s staff are decidedly enthusiastic about it, and the company’s CEO says his friends and family also want to try the technology.

It’s a fringe area for now, but as the access control and payments industries continue to transform through radical disruption, it may be one to keep an eye on.

Source: The New York Times