Implant of Radio-frequency identification tags in human body has more pros than cons

Categories: HumanTechnology

1.0 Introduction

RFID is the wireless non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data. The purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects. Since RFID tags can be attached to clothing, possessions, or even implanted within people the possibility of reading personally-linked information without consent has raised privacy concerns. There are three types of RFID such as passive, semi-passive and active. For the passive RFID tags does not contain a battery, the power is supplied by the reader. When radio waves from the reader are encountered by passive RFID tag, the coiled antenna within the tag forms a magnetic field.

For the semi-passive RFID tags are very similar to passive tags except for the addition of a small battery. This battery allows the tag IC to be constantly powered.

Semi-passive RFID tags are faster in response and therefore stronger in reading ratio compared to passive tags. Therefore, the active RFID tag when it is equipped with a battery that can be used as a partial or complete source of power for the tag’s circuitry and antenna It may have longer range and larger memories than passive tags as well as the ability to store additional information sent by the transceiver.

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Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for human implants and investigates the technological feasibility of such implants for locating and tracking persons or for remotely controlling human biological functions.

A human microchip implant is an identifying integrated circuit device or RFID transponder encased in silicate glass and implanted in the body of a human being.

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A subdermal implant typically contains a unique ID number that can be linked to information contained in an external database, such as personal identification, physiological characteristics, health, medical history, medications, allergies, and contact information. A classical example of human identification based on RFID-implant is given by the VeriChip tag (11 mm long and about 1mm in diameter) which contains numerical code (identifiers) readable at 10 centimeters or less using a handheld reader. When illuminating by the low-frequency magnetic field (134 KHz) generated by the reader, the RFID tag powers itself up and transmits a 16-digit code that is unique to the tag. Recent developments in RFID technology have opened up new potential applications, where RFID devices are implanted in the human body for locating and tracking persons or for remotely controlling human biological functions.


2.1Medical field

The primary goal of applying RFID technology in healthcare is to improve patient safety. First, RFID is a valuable tool for quickly retrieving patient information, allergies, and medication the patient is currently taking or medication a doctor will prescribe to the patient and monitoring patient location in hospitals so as to improve the accuracy of patient identification. Besides, microchip contains a unique identification number that emergency personnel may scan to immediately identify the patient and access his or her personal health information, thus facilitating appropriate treatment without delay.

This is especially important for patients who suffer from conditions that may render them unconscious, confused, or unable to communicate. Doctors would also be able to decide the needed equipment and medication with minimal delay in an emergency case where every second is decisive. With the implanted chip, a RFID reader, and a wireless connection, a doctor or nurse can pull up the patient’s information, or even update the patient information in real time. Some benefits of this include less patient mix-up, being able to access the patient information in real time, and fewer mistakes due to human error during data recording. Productivity would increase since the doctors and nurses would not have to go to a computer to enter in the updated information.

This would allow doctors and nurses to focus more on their professional duties Alzheimer disease, the most common form of dementia which has no cure till date, the most common symptoms is difficult to remember recent events. This has place great burden on caregivers as they have to constantly look after the patient, worrying them lose track in middle of nowhere. By implanting RFID tags in those patients, it is easy to identify and monitor the location and keep track of those patients with Alzheimer disease for their safety purposes. Alerting services can identify possible human errors and warn care providers in case of danger. For example, automatic sponge counting by RFID can avoid sponge left inside the patient body.


1) VeriChip, the company that hold the rights and patents to the implantable chip for humans, has sold 7,000 chips with 2,000 of which have been placed in people, according to Scott Silverman, chairman of Applied Digital, which owns VeriChip. The company’s present focus is tagging “high-risk” patients, such as those with diabetes, heart conditions or Alzheimer’s. (July 30, 2007) 2) According to a survey on employed professional and semi-professional people done in Pittsburgh, US, 62.5% of the total respondents (comprises of both sexes with equal votes) were willing to accept implants for medical reason

3) A number of RFID-related software applications were developed in Taiwan. Some of these applications focused on the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to prevent spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) disease. These applications include computerized systems for monitoring the body temperature of healthcare personnel and patients with implanted RFID tag in the hospital, track potential virus carriers and, when necessary, map their movements throughout hospitals and keeping track of people under quarantine in facilities separate from hospitals.

4) Don Mackechnie, the chairman of the British Medical Association’s Accident and Emergency committee, and a consultant at the Rochdale Infirmary, said: “Such a device (RFID tag implantation) could prove very useful in a situation where we have an unconscious patient with an unknown medical history. 5) Twenty-five Alzheimer’s patients were implanted with radio frequency identification chips that can be linked to their medical records and be tracked if they are lost. The patients were implanted at the 2007 Alzheimer’s Educational Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. The chips, from VeriChip Corp., Delray Beach, Calif., work with the vendor’s VeriMed Patient Identification System.

Each chip contains a 16-digit identification number that is linked to a patient’s medical records in a database at the medical facility. Waving the vendor’s RFID reader over a patient implanted with a chip can capture the number. Emergency personnel can also use the scanner to identify patients. The event was sponsored by Alzheimer’s Community Care, a local provider organization. Those who elected to receive the chip are not part of VeriChip’s recently announced study with the organization, which will implant 200 Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers with the chips. In the study, the patient’s medical record will include their Alzheimer’s diagnosis, related medications, caregiver contact information, and other information.

2.2Human Tracking

A tracking function could aid authorities in locating missing people such as kidnapping victim. As the numbers of abduction are surging nowadays, RFID implant in human body become the most effective way to fight against this crime. RFID implant in human body can help the authorities to identify their location if they were kidnapped. In fact, RFID implants in children are gaining popularity in Latin American and Russian markets, where parents fear that their children may be kidnapped and are therefore willing to brand them electronically in the hope that it will make it easier to trace kidnapped victims. One of the current issues of the world is the escalating numbers of crime. Because of this, authorities may use RFID tracking chips to track fugitives, terrorists, criminals and more. For example, by implanting the RFID tag into the criminal body, it would be easy to track them if they escape by any means.

This chip allows the authority to track back the fugitives easily as the tag will locate the location of the criminal. This implantation will certainly help to ensure the safety of citizens from escaped felons at all time. Besides, these tags are incredibly versatile and may help the lives of countless people with chronic medical problems as well as keeping track of the vulnerable members (extremely young and old) of our society. A vulnerable elderly need this tags because of disability to remember the way back home, age or illness, and may be unable to take care or protect themselves against significant harm or exploitation. So a tag on old people can let the authorities find back them easily. Furthermore, schools are taking advantage of biometrics and RFID technology, as they are cognizant of the increasingly more complex responsibility of keeping children accounted for and safe from arrival through after school programs to transport home.


1) A real case of implantation of RFID happened in Mexico. According to the 2011 Mexican congressional report, kidnappings have jumped 317 percent in the past five years. Surprisingly, one fifth of instances have involved police officers or soldiers, which leads to a mistrust of these authority figures. Thus, some of the Mexicans pay for the implantation of RFID to protect themselves, so that they could be tracked in the case of being kidnapped. They are now having themselves implanted with RFID tracking chips which can help them to be rescued. Xega, the Mexican company that sells the chips and performs the implants, says its sales have increased 40 percent in the past two years. The company says it has successfully helped rescue 178 clients in the past decade. 2) In Brazil, where Applied Digital has already signed a deal on 2004 to supply RFID tracking chips to distributors in Brazil to help them to fight against kidnapping. Government official says that the chips could be used to track down victims via satellite.

2.3Convenience With an RFID implant in the human body, shopping could be as easy as waving your hand and such routine tasks would take less time. The customer can automate the process by simply scanning their implanted chip and the business could match the customer and shipment numbers with the barcode number on the item that is to be returned. They would no longer need a receipt to do so and prevent unnecessary arguments. This new technology makes the purchasing function faster and more convenient. If a bank account or credit card account is linked to an implanted microchip, making a purchase would be extremely fast and safe. Consumers can also enjoy the peace of mind knowing that there is a greatly reduced change of having their “card” stolen because it would be imbedded in their hand.

Perhaps by utilizing microchip implants banking/credit card applications, females would not have to carry a purse everywhere they go and in turn reduce the risk of theft and, thus, reducing identity theft and fraud, which also appeared to be an important issue to women. Moreover, employers are exploring the advantages of utilizing these technologies to ensure only those employees authorized can enter buildings, turn on lights, access computers, change office thermostat settings and operate specialized machinery safely and according to set standards based on a system that can authenticate those employees who meet the re-determined levels of permission. With the implantation of RFID chips, people could stop worrying about keys for their house and cars, the lock code of doors, computers, and much more.

Kevin Warwick, a professor had a microelectrode array implanted in the median nerve fibers of his left arm that allowed him to develop a system that could connect his nervous system and a computer (Foster and Jaeger 45). Some people who had RFID chips implanted in their bodies have developed circuits that will allow them to start their cars by waving their hands near a reader (Foster and Jaeger 45). It would certainly reduce the cases of car stolen as the cars cannot be accessed by people other than the specified person. People can access all of their things with the single micro chips that they have implanted inside their body.

2.3.1Statistics Based on a survey done in Pittsburgh, USA, it was found that working professionals between the ages of 25 and 36 years will be more adaptable to the microchips implant technologies than other age groups. Numerous studies have also shown that younger people are more likely to adapt to this new technology, particularly those who fall in the age category of 25 to 36, since they are most likely representative of the younger well-educated professionals.

2.3.2Evidence 1) Baja Beach Club in Barcelona, Spain Launches Microchip Implantation for VIP members (first discotheque in the world to offer the VIP VeriChip) on 7 April, 2004 * Using an integrated (imbedded) microchip, the VIPS can identify themselves and pay for their food and drinks without the need for any kind of document (ID). Special zone at Baja beach Club where only VIPs are allowed contains various exclusive services for these members. Therefore, they won’t have to carry a wallet. By simply passing by our reader, the Baja beach Club will know who you are and what your credit balance is. From the moment of their implantation they will also have free entry and access to the VIP area The customers like the fact that they do not have to carry a credit card or ID card with them and with the VeriPay system, they no longer have to worry about their credit cards getting lost or stolen.”

2) 18 staff members of the Mexican Attorney General’s office have been implanted with the “Verichip” to control access to a data room * Mexico’s top federal prosecutors and investigators began receiving chip implants in their arms in November 2003 in order to get access to restricted areas inside the attorney general’s headquarters, said Antonio Aceves, general director of Solusat, the company that distributes the microchips in Mexico.” Although the technology can be out there to duplicate (a chip), but what can’t be stolen is the unique identification number and the information that is tied to that number”, said by director of RFID analysis at ABI Research Inc. based on theory that the chips could be as secure as existing RFID-based access control systems such as the contactless employee badges widely used in corporate and government facilities. Silverman said his company’s system is nevertheless safe because its chips can only be read by the company’s proprietary scanners.

2.4Customers Relationship Management Companies could track customers’ personal purchases and send promotional items personally tailored to their customers. This has the potential to be a safe and cost-effective way to improve marketing and customer services of companies. Hence, improving customer services is where the benefits are more apparent for implant.

The second improvement to CRM identified is the improvement of dispute resolution through reverse logistics. With this technology, any purchases that are made in a store can be database and store for later recollection. For example, this may mean that if a customer needs to return an item they would no longer need a receipt to do so. The customer can automate the process by simply scanning their implanted chip and the business could match the customer and shipment numbers with the barcode number on the item that to be returned. This application of relatively inexpensive technology could stop the countless hours and aggravation that customer service managers spend on trying to accommodate consumer’s disputes.

It would also get a great distance on stopping fraud and other scams that cost stores millions of dollars each year. If it is more difficult to forge documentation of a purchase then potential thieves would seek easier prey for customer fraud and theft. Besides, purchasing made by customers is faster by using RFID which will help companies work more efficiently and effectively. This will help company to reduce time and cost and improve company performances. Another important improvement that is identified in the conceptual model is the ability of this new technology to make the purchasing function faster and more convenient.

If widespread acceptance could be achieved, there is a distinct possibility that credit and banking cards may become obsolete in the near future. If a bank account or credit card account is linked to an implanted microchip, making a purchase would be extremely fast and safe. This implication would serve credit card companies in its ability to stop credit card theft, since a relatively simple precaution may be used that invalidates the microchip if tampered with and forcibly removed. Huge savings may be realized if even small reductions in credit card and identity theft were possible. This enhanced security would allow credit card companies’ capital to increase the credit lines of their consumers and also potentially lower interest rates.

3.0Conclusion In conclusion, RFID applications can provide significant benefits to the healthcare industry to ensure patient safety, avoid medical errors as well as improve efficiency. In fact, healthcare is predicted to be one of the major growth areas for RFID. Besides, RFID can keep track of elderly, children and fugitives. This will help to prevent happening of crimes. Moreover, this new technology makes the purchasing function to be faster and more convenient. Lastly, service marketing indicatives could use standard CRM principles to properly track, treat, and order required products and services that personally identify the customer, the needed services, and the proper billing information for such services.

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Implant of Radio-frequency identification tags in human body has more pros than cons. (2016, Nov 23). Retrieved from

Implant of Radio-frequency identification tags in human body has more pros than cons

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