Tool of the devil is so convenient

My friend Christina just put an RFID implant into her body.  She has allowed me to repost her blog on it here.


I love both technology and body modification. As if you couldn’t tell.

The other day I decided to implant an RFID microchip into my right hand. I used an AVID injector kit (the same thing they use to inject microchips into your pets), and replaced the animal RFID tag with a Phillips/NXP Hitag S 2048 2 x 12mm glass RFID tag. It looks like this:

Philips Hitag. Photo credit: sleepallday.org

It’s this size, by comparison:

Verimed RFID tag

RFID implants have a number of uses, the main use of which is to identify pets that come to animal shelters. Several companies such as VeriChip have marketed RFID chip implants for humans as a means to access medical records. While the idea seemed promising to some, the idea of having an implantable microchip generated a lot of controversy, such that VeriChips are no longer produced. This far, only a few hundred people have microchip implants, and even less have implanted themselves.

An RFID chip typically contains a programmed number which can be read by an RFID scanner. The chips are programmed with a unique 10-digit ID code (Hex 0-9 A-F) and in the case of my particular chip, can be reprogrammed with a writer (which I ordered last night)

I wanted to do this for several reasons. I love the fusion of technology and body modification. I like to tinker with ideas. Hobbyists have used RFID implants to open doors without keys, switch on lights, and log in to computers, among other things. I’m planning on using it for a number of those.

Unfortunately, the video I took of the implantation process became corrupted on my Droid X (CURSE YOU!) and so until I figure out if I can fix it, the video will be sadly unavailable. A few of my friends want implants as well, so you might have to settle for video of their implants instead of video of mine. It more or less went like this: I opened up a package of sterile gloves. I placed the sterile injector kit on the field made by the glove packaging. I don’t have an autoclave, so I settled for soaking the HITAG chip in a sterilizing solution and then boiling it for ten minutes on my stove. I swabbed my right hand with an iodine swab. I placed the cleaned Hitag on the sterile field, donned a glove and then switched the tag that came with the injector kit for the Hitag. Chris donned the other glove and pinched my skin where I had instructed him to do so earlier. I pushed the needle of the injector kit into my hand and under the skin, pushed the plunger to insert the tag through the needle, and then withdrew the needle. It didn’t really hurt much – probably about as bad as a blood draw. It was slightly sore for the rest of the night, and the next day I pretty much resumed my normal activities. The tag happens to be located right at the end and at a 90 degree angle to a scar on my hand, making it very easy to locate. A week later and it seems to be doing fine. *

Every time I am reminded that I implanted an RFID tag into my own hand, it makes me really happy, just knowing it’s there. I can’t wait to start experimenting with it – I haven’t even gotten to read it yet to see exactly what code was originally assigned to it. I’m hoping the research lab I work at (which uses RFID cards plus keypad entry for building access) will program me into their system, so I can enter without a keyfob.

There’s another interesting aspect of RFID that definitely needs to be mentioned, considering the primary focus of this blog: A lot of people think that implantable RFID tags are the Mark of the Beast.

You know… the Mark of the Beast (Insert horribly racist/sexist/classist picture found using Google Image Search here):

Racism/sexism/classism brought to you by http://ytpolitics.blogspot.com/

Apparently Revelation 13:11-18 says, “Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13 And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14 Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name”

There are organizations out there who exist for the sole purpose of opposing human (and sometimes pet) microchip implants. Sometimes their opposition is labeled as a human rights issue, and often their opposition is religious, born out of fear that the chips represent the Mark of the Beast. There are currently far more Facebook groups online opposing RFID than there are people in favor of RFID, and some of their members are pretty rabid and threatening.

So there you have it. I have taken on the Mark of the Beast.

Me, with band-aid covering implant site.

The picture above is me, hours after the implant, with band-aid covering the implant site.

Coupled with the fact that I am an atheist who has (repeatedly) denied/blasphemed the Holy Spirit and I have the mark, it’s safe to say that the Christian god, were he real, would doom me forever. I have more realistic things to worry about.

In the picture below, you can see the implant pretty clearly under my skin. If I ball my hand into a fist and use my index finger to push on my hand web, I can make the implant visible under the skin. It’s the dark huge-grain-of-rice looking thing between the arrows. If my hand it relaxed, you can’t tell it’s there. The other scars on my hand are old.

Right hand with RFID implant

*P.S. This information for educational purposes only. this is not to be taken as instruction or recommendation. I am not liable if you decide to implant yourself.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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