Swedish office gets under employees' skin with RFID microchips

Forget your office door key? Can't remember the code for the photocopier? No need to worry if you happen to have a microchip implanted in your hand.

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read

Would you be willing to be implanted with a microchip just to open doors? Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Nothing is more annoying that realizing you've forgotten your laminated passkey to get into your office. Or what about that pesky password you have to remember in order to use the photocopier?

Now thanks to implanted RFID chips the size of a rice grain, employees who work at a new high-tech office campus in Sweden called Epicenter can wave their hands to open doors and operate machinery like Jedi masters using the Force.

The process of being chipped was organized by bio-hacker Hannes Sjoblad. "We already interact with technology all the time," Sjoblad told BBC News.

"Today it's a bit messy -- we need PIN codes and passwords. Wouldn't it be easy to just touch with your hand? That's really intuitive."

Sjoblad was so convincing that BBC News' own technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones volunteered to be chipped, with varied results. "When I tested my chip, I found that it was not all that intuitive," Cellan-Jones reported. "I had to twist my hand into an unnatural position to make the photocopier work."

Employees will also be using the RFID chips to interact with their smartphones, computers and even bike locks.

While not all the employees are eager to be bio-hacked for the sake of convenience, Sjoblad and other members of the Swedish bio-hacking group BioNyfiken want to test the technology before it goes mainstream.

"We want to be able to understand this technology before big corporates and big governments come to us and say everyone should get chipped -- the tax authority chip, the Google or Facebook chip," Sjoblad told the BBC.