Microchip Implants News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on microchip implants
If you have a passport, now is the time to renew it -- even if it's not set to expire anytime soon. In many countries, including the United States, passports will soon be equipped with RFID chips. And you don't want one of these chips in your passport. RFID stands for "radio-frequency identification." Passports with RFID chips store an electronic copy of the passport information: your name, a digitized picture, etc. And in the future, the chip might store fingerprints or digital visas from various countries. By itself, this is no problem. But RFID chips don't have to be plugged in to a reader to operate. Like the chips used for automatic toll collection on roads or automatic fare collection on subways, these chips operate via proximity. The risk to you is the possibility of surreptitious access: Your passport information might be read without your knowledge or consent by a government trying to track your movements, a criminal trying to steal your identity or someone just curious about your citizenship. Security mechanisms are also vulnerable, and several security researchers have already discovered flaws. One found that he could identify individual chips via unique characteristics of the radio transmissions. Another successfully cloned a chip. The Colorado passport office is already issuing RFID passports, and the State Department expects all U.S. passport offices to be doing so by the end of the year. Many other countries are in the process of changing over. So get a passport before it's too late.
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Kiss your keyboard goodbye: soon we'll jack our brains directly into the Net - and that's just the beginning. Two years ago, a quadriplegic man started playing video games using his brain as a controller. It spells the beginning of a radical change in how we interact with computers. Someday, keyboards and computer mice will be remembered only as medieval-style torture devices for the wrists. All work - emails, spreadsheets, and Google searches - will be performed by mind control. [Consider] the sensational research that's been done on the brain of one Matthew Nagle. Nagle, a 26-year-old quadriplegic, was hooked up to a computer via an implant smaller than an aspirin that sits on top of his brain and reads electrical patterns. He learned how to move a cursor around a screen, play simple games, control a robotic arm, and even...turn his brain into a TV remote control [all] in less time than the average PC owner spends installing Microsoft Windows. Neurodevices - medical devices that compensate for damage to the brain, nerves, and spinal column - are a $3.4 billion business that grew 21 percent last year. There are currently some 300 companies working in the field. This kind of technology can enable a hooked-up human to write at 15 words a minute. Remember, though, that silicon-based technology typically doubles in capacity every two years. Last year, Sony took out a patent on a game system that beams data directly into the mind without implants. It uses a pulsed ultrasonic signal that induces sensory experiences such as smells, sounds and images.
The line between living organisms and machines has just become a whole lot blurrier. European researchers have developed "neuro-chips" in which living brain cells and silicon circuits are coupled together. The achievement could one day enable...the development of organic computers that crunch numbers using living neurons. To create the neuro-chip, researchers squeezed more than 16,000 electronic transistors and hundreds of capacitors onto a silicon chip just 1 millimeter square in size. They used special proteins found in the brain to glue brain cells, called neurons, onto the chip. However, the proteins acted as more than just a simple adhesive. "They also provided the link between ionic channels of the neurons and semiconductor material in a way that neural electrical signals could be passed to the silicon chip," said study team member Stefano Vassanelli from the University of Padua in Italy. The proteins allowed the neuro-chip's electronic components and its living cells to communicate with each other.
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With a wave of his hand, Amal Graafstra, a 29-year-old entrepreneur based in Vancouver, Canada, opens his front door. With another, he logs onto his computer. Tiny radio frequency identification (RFID) computer chips inserted into Graafstra's hands make it all possible. The computer chips, which cost about $2, interact with a device installed in computers and other electronics. The chips are activated when they come within 3 inches of a so-called reader, which scans the data on the chips. The "reader" devices are available for as little as $50. Graafstra said at least 20 of his tech-savvy pals have RFID implants. "I can't feel it at all. It doesn't impede me. It doesn't hurt at all. I almost can't tell it's there," agreed Jennifer Tomblin, a 23-year-old marketing student and Graafstra's girlfriend. Mikey Sklar, a 28-year-old Brooklyn resident, said, "It does give you some sort of power of 'Abracadabra,' of making doors open and passwords enter just by a wave of your hand." The RFID chip in Sklar's hand, which is smaller than a grain of rice and can last up to 100 years, was injected by a surgeon in Los Angeles.
Sullivan, a Tennessee power company worker who lost both arms in a job-related accident, has been outfitted by Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago researchers with a kind of bionic arm, which is controlled directly by his thoughts. Sullivan doesn't have to think hard anymore about doing something; he simply does it the way he always did. "I feel my hand when I want to pick something up, then I just close my hand," he says. When he wants to grab a bottle of water, for instance, the computerized arm moves forward, the elbow bends and the mechanical hand grasps the bottle, bringing it to his lips, as his natural arm once did.
We bet that former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson wishes he had gone to work for Breyers or Hershey's. To set a good example, he's preparing to consume his new company's product--VeriChip Corp's flesh-embedded medical radio chip. "It doesn't cause any pain," he assures us, explaining that a rice-size chip will be inserted into his arm. The chip stores coding that makes the user's health records available worldwide. Hospitals wave a radio wand over the arm to get the info. "People are dying all the time," he says, "because they can't access their medical information overseas."
Peruvian alpaca herders are turning to technology to thwart a growing problem of the high Andes Mountains: the smuggling of prize-winning, wool-producing alpacas to neighboring countries. An association of alpaca farmers is surgically implanting microchips into hundreds of alpacas as part of an effort to reduce illegal transport of the animals. A herd of 700 Alpacas had microchips implanted in their neck muscles beneath their ears on Friday in the high plains of Peru near the town of Nunoz, about 540 miles southeast of Lima.
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