May 26, 2003
Implantable RFID and GPS Devices

Applied Digital Solutions has brought out embeddable Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips capable of being implanted in a human body.

Imagine a tiny chip the size of a grain of rice that can be implanted under your skin to provide instant access to a range of potentially life- saving information. Or indeed, any information.

American company Applied Digital Solutions demonstrated just that at the IDTechEx Smart Tagging in Healthcare conference, held in London last month.

Paramedics could know instantly that a person they find passed out has a medical condition or an allergy to a particular drug. But the uses do not stop there. As storage device densities continually increase the amount of information storable by little chips embedded in a person's body will go up by many orders of magnitude.

Boston Globe reporter Angela Swafford has written a good article that surveys many of the possible uses for this technology. She even had a VeriChip inserted into her own body.

Theoretically, this VeriChip will allow doctors to call up my medical records even if I'm too badly hurt to answer questions. It is also supposed to allow me to get money from an automatic teller machine by flashing my arm instead of punching in my PIN number. Or reassure airport security that I am a journalist, not a terrorist.

Nokia and MasterCard are planning to put RFID chips into cell phones to make them into credit cards. There is not a whole lot of difference between an ATM card and a credit card and therefore it seems reasonable to expect that you could become your own credit card as well. But then how can someone who can't control their credit card spending cut their cards in half?

Applied Digital Solutions is also developing a subdermal GPS Personal Location Device.

PALM BEACH, FL– May 13, 2003 – Applied Digital Solutions, Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSX), an advanced technology development company, today announced that it has developed and successfully field tested a working prototype of what the company believes is the first-ever subdermal GPS “personal location device” (PLD). Field testing and follow-up laboratory testing of the disk-shaped prototype confirm that the specially designed antenna and the induction-based power-recharging method function properly.

The dimensions of this initial PLD prototype are 2.5 inches in diameter by 0.5 inches in depth, roughly the size of a pacemaker. As the process of miniaturization proceeds in the coming months, the Company expects to be able to shrink the size of the device to at least one-half and perhaps to as little as one-tenth the current size.

The induction-based power-recharging method is similar to that used to recharge implantable pacemakers. This recharging technique functions without requiring any physical connection between the power source and the implant.

Dr. Peter Zhou, Vice President and Chief Scientist of Applied Digital Solutions, said: “We’re very encouraged by the successful field testing and follow-up laboratory testing of this working PLD prototype. The specially designed antenna is working as planned. While reaching the working prototype stage represents a significant advancement in the development of PLD, we continue to pursue further enhancements, especially with regard to miniaturization and the power supply. We should be able to reduce the size of the device dramatically before the end of this year.”

Last year, the Company announced that it was accelerating development of PLD in response to demand from high-risk countries and other potential customers. The exact timing of commercial availability of PLD is unclear pending further technological refinements and achieving any required regulatory clearances. The PLD technology builds on United States Patent Number 5,629,678 for a "personal tracking and recovery system" which Applied Digital acquired in 1999.

In its PLD announcement last year, the Company said it is committed to providing customers with a full range of “personal safeguard technologies” that enhance personal safety, security and peace of mind. Other technologies in the Company’s line-up of life-enhancing technologies include VeriChip™, Digital Angel™, and Thermo Life™.

You might be wondering what this product is for. My added bolding of the statement about the "high-risk countries" points to one obvious use. They are probably referring to countries where kidnapping of wealthy people for ransoms occurs much more frequently than is the case in the most industrialized countries. Perhaps the device will be able to periodically broadcast a signal that reveals the location of a person once kidnapped.

A really cool health application would be to combine a heart monitor with GPS and cellular phone digital message broadcast to alert emergency workers when a person is having a heart attack. Other people with medical conditions such as epilepsy or diabetes that put them at risk of experiencing acute medical emergencies could also benefit from the ability of an embedded device to automatically make a cellular call for help. One could imagine people in high risk occupations such as forest fire fighters and search and rescue workers that have a risk of their being lost or injured in remote locations benefitting from having such a device in them.

A lot of other applications for this kind of technology can easily be imagined. For instance, parents could use it to keep track of the movement of their kids, either to find them at any moment in time or to download a record of their movements when they come home. This could be done surreptitiously so that a kid would never even know that a device had been implanted.

Law enforcement officials could require use of embedded RFID/GPS on parolees as a condition of parole. Stalkers who have court orders placed on them to avoid a celebrity or ex-girlfriend could similarly be tracked. Another really interesting application would be counter-terrorism. Imagine a suspected terrorist having a GPS tracking device secretly implanted. One way to do it would be to drug a suspected terrorist using food sent to his hotel room followed by insertion of a device while he slept. He might never suspect that he fell asleep because of drugs in his food if the drugging was done at a time late enough at night.

What would be even more clever would be to put components of a nanotech GPS device in food split up into a number of pieces too small to detect. The pieces could all be absorbed and then all migrate to the same destination in the body to hook up with each other and start functioning. A really sophisticated device could even record spoken conversations for later download. Then when the terrorist stayed in a hotel room or visited a restaurant that had embedded devices for triggering a radio download an encrypted transmission could be sent at his body to start the download.

Simpler RFID technology is on the verge of being used by clothing retailers to prevent theft and track inventory more accurately. Benetton announced a move to embed RFID tags in all Benetton clothing but after a furor was raised Benetton backed off from the proposal a month later. Another application is to combine RFID with a temperature sensor to allow perishible packages to indicate more accurately when shelf life has been expired.

Some day more advanced embeddable GPS tracking and radio transmitting devices will be interfaced to one's nervous system to allow one to instruct one's own embedded device to report that one believes one is either being kidnapped or otherwise in danger. Picture a mental keyboard where in one's mind one could type up a digital message or select from a list of prewritten messages and then order one embedded cell phone to send a brief digital message to a security agency, police, family, or employer.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2003 May 26 12:13 AM  Surveillance GPS

martin said at May 30, 2003 6:56 PM:

Nice report. Look forward to future follow ups on the Verichip and the FDA approval? Alos on the GPS abilities of such a device.

Felipe Van-der-Laat said at October 24, 2003 8:08 AM:

Your product will be great for the market where I work, Costa Rica, Central America. While the human implant is approved, I will like to consider the possibility of distributing the product to be used on equipment that may be stolen, like computers.

Let me have more information about the stage of proiduction you already have. I am extremely interested in distributing such a product for many applications.

Michelle Mckelvy said at January 21, 2004 3:23 PM:

I am very interested in your product. To be able to track anything via GPS with a RFID will be very powerful.

What about environmental conditions? how well does this device hold up under extreme heat/ cold and is it submersable?

What would be the cost of your product?

Looking forward to hearing from you..

Michelle McKelvy

Tony Medina-Taoyen said at March 14, 2004 11:18 AM:

I am very interested in your product. To be able to track anything via GPS with a RFID will be very powerful.
When will it be available for commercial apps?
Will you be selling the GPS/RFID chip that OEMs can incorporate in their own devices?

What about environmental conditions? how well does this device hold up under extreme heat/ cold and is it submersable?

What would be the cost of your product?

Looking forward to hearing from you..

Tony Medina-Taoyen

alejo said at May 18, 2004 8:53 AM:

this product should be implanted in all newrly borns in colombia where kidnapping doesnt chooses betwen rich or poor, there is people kidnaped since more tha 6 years due to the internal war on drugs sponsored by the american goverment.

Tim Good said at September 18, 2004 3:27 PM:

What would the range be on your chip and gps reciever and what would the cost be? Thanks, Tim

Dick Heisch said at September 23, 2004 1:34 PM:

Hi.. It's a shame that a truly micro device does not exist right now, for the poor people in Iraq that are being beheaded almost daily.. If it were me I'd at least like to have the chance that the good guys could bust down the door with guns blasting that to have my head cut off by some zelot... Gods speed getting this down to size.. Good work.. Dick

Mohammed Ahsan Yusuf said at December 28, 2004 7:29 AM:

I am interested in the RFID device that has GPS inbuilt, I have a large requirement for the same, over a million peices. I am looking for the wearable and disposable kind. Please mail me for more details you you can supply such a device.

Thank you.

Peter Worthington said at July 17, 2005 8:56 PM:

My name is Peter Worthington Im With a Company Called Future Fleet Will do Gps Tracking systems.
Ok I was Looking for Some Units. I have gps in the tucks and the drivers of the trucks can get in with there tag and log on etc. could you maybe be give me advise on Rfid reciever and cards That could use a serial port to hook up to the gps so the company can see when the log on etc Maybe you have units that would be suitable with my work.
Please if anyone can help please email me
Peter Worthington

dean woodard said at July 24, 2005 2:50 PM:

I'm a doctor who would like to make a subdermal GPS chip available to patients who want them for their children. How soon before they will be approved for such a use in USA?

David Thompson said at October 2, 2005 5:37 PM:

I am interested in small GPS or RFID devices that can be worn and able to transmit for up to 1000 feet or greater. Please contact me.

David Thompson

N.N. said at November 4, 2005 5:42 AM:

I'm a parent who simply needs to know how and where to get an implantable gps device to prevent kidnapping. It's a great idea. I'm sure lots of parents over here are interested aswell. Please let me know. I live in Belgium, Europe. Urgent!! (yes urgent)

razina said at February 7, 2006 4:09 AM:

I read about your work and aware of the importance and craze to get to know about any part of the world in seconds.I am interested in learning more about the solutions for integrating GPS with RFID and keen to find out about HOW to integrate and how is it possible.Kindly give me significant details and innerview of things in this regard.


Juan G. said at March 30, 2006 3:30 PM:

I need to know how these work (satellite, cell phone signal) since I need to take this to South America.

J Smith said at May 4, 2006 9:01 PM:

My husband & I are interested in purchasing this device (subdermal GPS device) for our children & possibly for ourselves as a precaution. We are worried about kidnapping. I'm sure many parents worry about this. This device sounds like wonderful idea if it truly can track people. If anyone has information on what companies may sell this product please post it.

Palem said at September 20, 2007 10:35 AM:

I am intrested to buy this chip to track my assets. Please let me know, where i can buy this chip.

James said at December 31, 2007 8:41 AM:

Interesting article. I like the direction you're headed with pushing the micro size limitations. I'm interested in an RFID/GPS combination with a 1/4" spatial diamater or less, that can sustain repeated shock/impact loads and high manufacturing temperatures. My application would imbed the product during the manufacturing process. Do you see this coming in the near future?

Anthony O'Donnell said at February 8, 2008 11:43 AM:

Can anybody tell me if subdermal gps system is available,that is small in size, I am talking the size of a grain of rice.



Nick said at March 23, 2008 11:55 PM:

As of right now the smallest implantable gps broadcaster is about the size of a pacemaker...
6 companies have and are currently working on the SIMMSYS Project = There is not much info that comes from this page, but you can visit each companies link..

Here is a website that shows the "picture" of what it might look like

The #1 current problems with having a (self-energizing implantable medical micro system) the size of a capsule/grain of rice is the power source..
This link explains a little more about how the human body can power a device like this. This idea has been around for awhile..PLEASE DO NOT BELIEVE ANY OF THE WEBSITES THAT CLAIM TO SELL A "SMALL IMPLANTABLE GPS DEVICE" THIS TECHNOLOGY DOES NOT EXIST...yet....;)

Hope that helps!


josie said at January 31, 2009 10:10 AM:

I'm looking for a gps that can be very small - like the size of a stamp to put on valuables in case they are stolen, therefore tracked.

I see the last entry on this site was in march of 2008. Can anyone guide me to current info and in depth technology (functionality, mechanism types, 'ingredients').

Much appreciated.

Richard Reason said at February 27, 2009 3:27 AM:

If anyone knows about the current developments of this technology I am very intrested in the marketing of it in high risk countries. Most information seems to be out of date but if any one has heard any thing or if there are any companies that are offering this sort of service please contact me thanks

Chris said at March 8, 2009 10:41 AM:

I live in a neighborhood where, if your not super careful, things start walking out of your garage (if you know what I mean).

I grow weary of purchasing new lawnmowers, snowblowers, bikes, etc.

I have two options: move or track items that are stolen.

While I prefer the 2nd option, I can't afford to spend an arm and a leg to be able to track stolen items.

An inexpensive RFID/GPS solution has to be arriving soon (if not already).

Please let me know when it does!

Gloria said at April 3, 2009 6:01 PM:

I am totally saddened everyday when I turn on the news and it seems everyday there's yet another missing child. I have gotten the idea into my head of writing my congressman to push a bill that would require all newborn infants as well as children to have this device implanted. Think about how many children who's life we could have saved had they had this device implanted. The list is endless. Times have changed and this technology now available is necessary. Does anyone know if it's possible to purchase this device?

Dr Jesse Kay said at July 29, 2009 4:37 PM:

I am very much interested in the implantable, subdermal GPS device for marketing and direct usage.

I would need upto one million pieces and more.

Please where can I procure such very urgently?

Many regards.

Dr Jesse Kay (
+447035995658 +2348032761916

John Zammit said at December 3, 2012 11:11 AM:

GPS Tracking System is like a boon in current scenario, Now we are able to track anything anywhere via GPS Devices. I run city taxi services and i monitor my all vehicle on a small screen....Such a good thing for business like i run.

Post a comment
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
Remember info?

Go Read More Posts On FuturePundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright ©