January 08, 2006
New Fad: Implantable RFID To Unlock Cars And Homes

Some people are getting Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFIDs) implanted into themselves so that they never have to worry about forgetting their car key or house key.

Cyborgs have stepped out of science fiction and into real life with a small but growing group of tech aficionados who are getting tiny computer chips implanted into their bodies to do everything from opening doors to unlocking computer programs.

Amal Graafstra and his girlfriend Jennifer Tomblin never have to worry about forgetting the keys to her Vancouver home or locking themselves out of Graafstra's Volkswagen GT.

They can simply walk up to the door and, with a wave of a hand, the lock will open. Ditto for the computer. No more struggling to remember complicated passwords and no more lost keys.

Click through on the article to see a picture of a hand with the chip implant pushed near the surface of the skin. Same picture here.

Graafstra divides his time between Bellingham Washington and Vancouver BC. But he got the RFID implant done in Los Angeles.

The implantable tags cost only a couple of dollars. But the surgeon's fee was probably in the hundreds of dollars. Still, you could implant it yourself (perhaps team with a friend and do implants on each other) if you wanted to do the research on what tools were needed and buy them and sterilize them. Graafstra has a forthcoming book RFID Toys that'll teach you some of what you need to know to take your first step toward cyborgism.

Graafstra used RFID tags and readers from Canadian company Phidgets and bought them from Phidgets USA.

A small but substantial segment of the populace will probably go for implantable RFID once a critical mass of both doctors to install it and technicians to upgrade houses and cars are available. Someone with a more technical bent can get into it now as Graafstra did. But you have to get the RFID reader and get it installed into your house door and car door in both cases with electric power attached to do the door unlocking.

But this idea seems a bit problematic. When you are leaving the house do you just keep one hand away from the door to prevent yourself from unlocking it? Also, do you have to worry when driving that your hand might unlock the door if you go to buckle your seat belt in a dangerous neighborhood?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2006 January 08 05:26 PM  Cyborg Tech

Ivan Kirigin said at January 8, 2006 7:05 PM:

The problems suggested can be solved with a button: press it, and the system looks for a chip near the finger pressing the button.

Clearly, a bigger problem is security. It will probably be anywhere from negative 5 to negative 15 years before someone learns how to exploit the devices.

Jake said at January 8, 2006 8:18 PM:

Our company uses a RFID card to unlock the door and disarm the alarm and visa versa. I carry mine in my wallet as it is the size of a credit card. The system generates a log of everyone entering and leaving the building so we don't have to sign in or out.

I have to touch my wallet to the reader to open the door. If you had a chip in your hand, you would have to touch the reader for it to work. Since I always carry my wallet, it is almost as handy as an implanted chip.

Ivan Kirigin said at January 9, 2006 3:54 PM:


I have a very similar system at my work.

Most people keep their cards in their wallets. The only draw back is the weird booty-shake many folks do when trying to pass their wallet in front of the scanner without taking it out of their back pocket :)

Anitsha said at March 16, 2006 11:19 AM:

I believe that the chip inserted in the body to open car doors and homes is a good idea. I think it will be an investment of the future! This proves how technology has progressed over the years.

Naman shah said at June 27, 2007 10:01 AM:

Well Can you combine RFID tehnology with voice recognition technology.
What I mean to do is, we your RFID card comes near the door, it activates the voice recognition technology.
it will ask if u want to open to door or not. if you say "yes" it will open the door and if you say "no" it will not open the door.
I this way lot of drawbacks of RFID system will be taken away.

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