About 50 employees at Three Square Market – a Wisconsin vending machine company – opt to implant RFID chips in their hands, allowing them to buy snacks, log in to computers or use the copier, company officials say.

Tony Danna (L) of the Three Square Market is inserted with a microchip in his hand on August 1, 2017.
Tony Danna (L) of the Three Square Market is inserted with a microchip in his hand on August 1, 2017.

A Wisconsin vending machine company threw a "chip party" on Tuesday where employees had a microchip implanted in their hands which would allow them to buy snacks, log in to computers or use the copy machine with a simple wave of the hand.

About 50 employees at Three Square Market agreed to the optional implant of the chips, which are the approximate size and shape of a grain of rice, Tony Danna, vice president of international sales at the River Falls-based company, said.

The company, which employs 85, said it was the first in the United States to offer staff the technology which is similar to that used by contactless credit cards and chips used to identify pets.

The device was inserted between their forefinger and thumb using a syringe-like instrument.

TRT World's Denee Savoia has more.

Commercial applications

The implants made by Sweden's BioHax International are part of a long-term test aimed to see if the Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) chips could have broader commercial applications, Danna said.

"We've done the research, and we're pretty well educated about this," Danna said.

The RFID chips use electromagnetic fields to communicate and can be read at a distance of no more than 6 inches, Danna said.

For employees interested in the technology but not the implant, the company said such staffers have the option to "place the microchip in a RFID wristband or a RFID/Near-Field Communication Smart Ring."

Hacking fears

Critics of using chips in humans include Nevada State Senator Becky Harris, who in February introduced legislation that would make forced installation of microchips illegal.

"It is possible to hack the information that is contained within the chips," Harris told a state Senate Judiciary Committee meeting at the time.

Others agree that RFID chips aren't hack proof.

"I could see bad actors trying several techniques to attack the chip itself or the data that is transmitted to and from the chip," McAfee's chief consumer security evangelist Gary Davis told Yahoo Finance.

Three Square Market CEO Todd Westby in a statement predicted the technology could become popular among companies.

"Eventually, this technology will become standardised allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities etc," he said.

Source: TRT World