River Falls, Wisconsin(Pontiac) – In an unusual bit of news, a Wisconsin vending machine company is now the first to microchip it’s employees. The voluntary implants allow the employees to make cafeteria purchases, use equipment, and open doors.
According to Reuters, the rice-sized chips have earned testing from 50 out of Three Square Market’s 85 employees. Specializing in self-check out micro-markets, TSM adapted this idea to these implanted chips. TSM is the first to deploy this kind of technology, and may foreshadow the future.
In testing the implants, TSM joins the chips’ Swedish developer–BioMax International–exploring the potential of radio frequency identification chips. The tech, Reuters reports, is quite similar to chips implanted in pets for identification purposes. Three Square Market international sales vice president Tony Danna downplayed concerns which quickly surfaced over the experiment. “We’ve done the research”, he ensured, “and we’re pretty educated about this.”
But how much do they actually know? Additionally, how does the company’s understanding differ from nation and state-wide spectators? The chips apparently work by using electromagnetic fields to communicate with devices. They interact within a distance of 6 inches, and are implanted using a “syringe-like device.”
According to Three Square Market’s website, the implants aren’t GPS capable. However, since it’s based off similar pet trackers, that possibility isn’t so remote.
With the chip’s themselves seemingly a market experiment, what is and isn’t known? Furthermore, what are the medical implications of implanting a foreign device under the skin? What’s the possibility of the body rejecting it, as even common piercings are prone to? Could the implants interfere the body’s naturally occurring electromagnetic field?
Three Square Market’s website isn’t specific with health concerns. However, it does note the tech has FDA approval dating back to 2004. The company also claims the implants are as easy to remove as a splinter. Beyond the vending machine company, further development of these chips could have latent economic implications. With industry attempting to strike a balance between human and automated labor, chips could have consequences.
Opinions of the chips appear cleanly split. Whereas some applaud and welcome them as safety and convenience developments, others are suspicious. They aren’t keen on having a device in them which they don’t fully understand. And for chip producers, there’s little to sway this disinterest. Concerns over privacy and surveillance expand each day, and chip implementations may be resisted by a great many. As of yet, however, the experiment is confined to voluntary Three Square Market employee’s looking for a nifty way to buy food, and open doors.
This article was prepared by Isiah Holmes for The Pontiac Tribune.