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Goodbye Swipe Cards, Hello Microchips Embedded in the Skin?

Goodbye Swipe Cards, Hello Microchips Embedded in the Skin?

As with almost all technology in our lives, as soon as we get used to something and how it works, a shinier, brand-new replacement comes out.

The same can be said for swipe cards: we use them to get on buses, gain entry into our workplaces, buy our lunch… You get the picture.

But an office complex in Sweden, called Epicenter, is taking it all to the next level with a chip embedded under the skin, between the thumb and forefinger.

And implantation only has the fleeting sharpness of an injection because of the tiny size of the RFID chip (RFID stands for radio-frequency identification), only about the size of a grain of rice.

Epicenter will become home to a number of companies, with the chip ultimately being offered to the 400 or so people who will be working within its hi-tech walls.

To gain entry to the building, all these people will have to do is hold their hand against the main front door. The same can be done to gain access to their own office space. Even the smallest of tasks, such as operating the photocopier, simply involves waving their hand over the machine.

And the further along the line, the more perks there will be for having the chip, such as being able to pay for items in the cafe with just the touch of their hand.

The building has been built by AMF Fastigheter, a property company in Sweden. Epicenter has also been described as an innovation hub and workplace collective for members only.

And innovative is certainly the word. The whole building is run on the internet, with the building and facilities management being run through Microsoft’s “Internet of Things” (IoT). In fact, you won’t be surprised to learn that Microsoft is a member of AMF Fastigheter!

Emptying a meeting room or notifying someone that a plant needs to be watered might seem like some of the most insignificant notifications. But all of these things are connected through sensors and appliances and nothing gets left out.

Just think: no more having to remember so many different pin numbers or passwords. No more frantic search for the swipe card that has inevitably pushed itself into the far recesses of your bag (even though you remember putting it in your purse…). No more having to fumble through a keychain holding what seems like a thousand different keys.

“Today, it’s a bit messy,” said Hannes Sjoblad, one of Epicenter’s organisers. “Wouldn’t it be easy to just touch with your hand? That’s really intuitive.”

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