Want to be a cyborg?
Dangerous Things, a biohacking company, has developed a near-field communication (NFC) compliant chip that allows people to implant cryptographic keys under their skin, as reported by Motherboard. The chip is scheduled for release next year.
Benefits Versus Privacy
Implantable chips are good for people who have trouble holding onto their keys, but they also brings privacy issues. The Dangerous Things prototype, called UKI, merges a person’s physical and digital identities.
UKI can cryptographically prove what a person did and when, such as when they signed an email. The device can also allow someone to integrate their body with their bitcoin wallets.
Amal Graafstra, the founder of Dangerous Things, said either payments or transits are the likely candidates for the UKI “killer app.” The ability to control possession one’s keys or one’s digital wallet will likely gain a lot of support.
Biohacking Faces Challenges
Biohacking, the implanting of RFID devices under the skin, has been slow to gain support. Engineer Kevin Warwick launched the field in 1998 when he performed an implant on himself. Warwick is known for his studies on direct interfaces between computer systems and the human nervous system, and he has also done research on robotics, according to Wikipedia.
Price is not the issue holding back implantable technology. Dangerous Things’ most expensive RFID injection kit costs about $100. A more likely challenge to implantable technology is the unease it brings. Everyone doesn’t like to be poked with needles, let alone having a cryptographic key implanted beneath their skin.
Implantable technology may be the future, but how much people in general want to embrace it is unknown at present.
Also read: The first bionic bitcoin cyborg
Website Warns Users
Dangerous Things notes on its website that its products are dangerous.
“You are purchasing, receiving, and using the items you acquired here at your own peril,” the website states. “You’re a big boy/girl now, you can make your own decisions about how you want to use the items you purchase. If this makes you uncomfortable, or you are unable to take personal responsibility for your actions, don’t order!”
The website explains that while Dangerous Things considers its products to be a relatively low-risk procedure, it is only low risk if a professional familiar with tissue work and aseptic procedure performs it. Customers are urged to work with a doctor, a veterinary surgeon, a registered nurse, a professional body piercer or a body modification artist.
The website states self implants have been done, but such procedures are discouraged since it is easy to cross contaminate and create a serious health risk. It is also difficult from a physical and logistics perspective.
Images from YouTube/Motherboard.