The microchip technology was developed by Stockholm-based startup Epicenter. The tiny chip stores a Covid-19 vaccine passport the likes of which are increasingly being mandated across the globe. It can be read by a device using a near-field communication protocol – the same tech used by credit cards and other digital payment systems.
The chip can be inserted either in one’s arm or between one’s thumb and forefinger, with the data readable through the skin. A unique code generates the individual’s vaccine passport file on a reader, as its makers displayed in the demo video distributed to multiple media outlets.
Epicenter’s chief distribution officer, Hannes Sjoblad, told the news agency AFP its microchip offered an efficient way to have one’s Covid status checked at a movie theater or shopping center without recourse to a cell phone.
“What matters to me is that the people who get chip implants, they do so on a voluntary basis,” Sjoblad said. “And because they are curious, and they want to work with this technology.”
The implants cost €100 ($113) a piece and the distributors describe the tech involved as “passive,” as it’s unable to generate a signal on its own – though this has not stopped the prospect of Covid chips raising red flags with activists.
“Remember when this was just a conspiracy?” US Representative Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado) tweeted in reaction to initial reports about the implants.
Sweden announced in December that vaccine passports would be required at any venue or event with a capacity of more than 100 people. Some 6,000 people have reportedly opted to have an implant since then.
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