Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, is a wireless data collection technology which, through the RF portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, uses electrostatic or electromagnetic coupling to identify objects, animals and humans as unique entities. The technology first reached mass-market application in the 1980s when it was earmarked by industry as appropriate for identifying high value items moving through the manufacturing and assembly process. Successful implementation here saw RFID systems later grow to encompass supply chains, commercial goods and animals. The most recent advance in the evolutionary development of RFID has been to make humans the subject of applications. The purpose of these applications has ranged from convenience, to access, to monitoring, and to allowing for communication. We have carried the RFID devices in our hands, wallets, and our clothes. Now, potential exists to carry the technology in our bodies. This thesis examines current applications associated with the RFID implantation of humans. It aims to bridge the gap between existing technical knowledge and speculation as to future uses. Research design is based on a usability context analysis methodology with applications thematically separated into areas of control, convenience and care. This qualitative study will clarify the current state of development by investigating issues of use, nature and commercial feasibility.
Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.