There has been an uptick in the noise about implantable chips of late. Not just in the technology sector but in the consumer news, as well. It seems that subcutaneous data chips (most of us don’t call them RFID anymore because they are so much more diverse in capability) might just become all the rage.
And it’s not just RFID-like chips; it is evolving into a full-blown sensory experience. In fact, a recent feed I read calls the humans of the future “autonomous, intelligent sensor systems (I could really let my imagination go off on that…).
To me, that is awesome! Although many do not share the same enthusiasm. But many don’t really understand the implications and ramifications of this.
Then there is the potential dark side – exploitation by the nefarious who would use this technology for evil. But, this is just now coming on line so let’s talk about the upside. We can revisit the dark side later and it isn’t all that different from other device security issues.
The new term for this procedure is referred to as “chipping.” In its present incarnation, a small capsule is placed under the skin, generally between the thumb and forefinger. While this has been around for a while, it is just now starting to see more interest. Most interestingly, it can be used to purchase items along with standard functions such as coded entry privileges, And this is just scratching the surface. With the miniaturization of semiconductors, the potential is just now being realized.
This is but a small part of where this is going. Adding functionality such as personal banking information puts a lot of data that needs to be secured under your skin. One advantage is that it can communicate over short distance, using near-field communications (NFC).
But taking a quick side-step here, with fingerprint biometrics, there are many cases of forging fingerprints via any number of methods, including removing the appendage (ugg)! With subcutaneous types, I wonder what it would take to steal the chip.
However, I digress. What I find most interesting is that, as this technology advances, there is potential for everyone to become an “element” of the Internet of Everything (IoX). This is why I like to call it the IoX rather than the IoT. Imagine what it would be like, in 2075, when every human being is chipped. Moreover, by then such chips would house artificial intelligence and machine learning that would manage an endless variety of sensors – position, noise, vibration, geolocation, temperature, body vitals – the list is endless. In addition, these sensors would be integrated with two-way mmWave communications (by then we will be in the terahertz bands) that will notify first responders in the event of an accident or health crisis, for example.
This would truly be the vision of the IoX as the Internet become a living, breathing, real-time, sea of shifting data and access points and sources that would all but eliminate unknowns. We are the ideal vehicle. We are always on, self-correcting, totally mobile and intrinsically smart (well, many of us, anyway). And we can hang around for a long time.
This concept is mind-boggling. I could go on for thousands of words. And there is so much that this can encompass. What this will lead to is fascinating. And this will be the epitome of the IoX.
Talk about a true man-machine melding. I just hope Skynet doesn’t find out!
Ernest Worthman is the Executive Editor of Applied Wireless Technology magazine. A Life Member of the IEEE, his 20-plus years of editorial experience includes being the Editorial Director of Wireless Design and Development and Fiber Optic Technology, the Editor of RF Design, the Technical Editor of Communications Magazine, Cellular Business, Global Communications and a Contributing Technical Editor to Mobile Radio Technology, Satellite Communications, as well as computer-related periodicals such as Windows NT. His technical writing practice client list includes RF Industries, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Agilent Technologies, Advanced Linear Devices, Ceitec, SA, and others.