Publication Details

Michael, K. & Michael, M. G. (2013). The future prospects of embedded microchips in humans as unique identifiers: the risks versus the rewards. Media Culture and Society, 35 (1), 78-86.


Microchip implants for humans are not new. Placing heart pacemakers in humans for prosthesis is now considered a straightforward procedure. In more recent times we have begun to use brain pacemakers for therapeutic purposes to combat illnesses such as epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and severe depression. Microchips are even being placed inside prosthetic knees and hips during restorative procedures to help in the gathering of post-operative analytics that can aid rehabilitation further. While medical innovations that utilize microchips abound, over the last decade we have begun to see the potential use of microchip implants for non-medical devices in humans, namely for control, convenience and care applications. Most of these emerging applications that have been demonstrated in numerous case studies have utilized passive radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags or transponders embedded in the tricep, forearm, wrist or hand of the implantee. The RFID transponder stores a unique identifier that is triggered when the device comes into range of a reader unit.

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