Subcutaneous Chips are replacing Cards and Keys

How many times have you faced problems like forgetting your wallet or losing your keys? These problems will not be part of the future.


The small silicon devices are the size of a grain of rice and work with NFC technology, which allows you to send information wirelessly over a small distance of 4 cm.

There are also chips that work under RFID technology, by identifying radio frequencies. In a procedure as quick as piercing an earring, the chips are usually implanted in the hands, between the bases of the thumb and index finger, allowing its users to replace the use of cards and keys with the information contained in the chip.

In Sweden, since 2015, more than 3,000 insertions have been performed. Contrary to popular belief, it is not hacker counterculture enthusiasts who tend to embrace microchips, but ordinary citizens.


Company employees receive implants that give access to workplaces without the need to carry keys, for example. Even the state-owned transport company SJ has joined the innovation since June 2017, and today it has employees who collect the tickets from Swedish citizens during the trip, scanning the chips in their hands. More than 130 users of the SJ train system use chips instead of physical tickets.

Among these 3,000 Swedish citizens who have implants is Ulrika Celsing, a 28-year-old employee of the Mindshare media agency, who with a simple wave of her hand manages to open the doors of her workplace. “It was fun to try something new and see what could be used to make life easier in the future,” he said. According to her, who has had the implant for a year, the facilities were so great that even her gym membership card was replaced by information she carries in her subcutaneous chip.

Subcutaneous chip reading with a smartphone.

Despite the practicality and ease of the implant, some concerns are present when it comes to replacing cards and keys with chips installed under our skin.

The first concerns the obsolescence of devices. Just look at how technological advances have made cell phones and computers change immensely over the last ten years, with greater storage and different uses. If the same happens to the chips, it might not be as practical to replace, from time to time, something that is installed inside your body.

The second concern, however, is with the security of the data that is stored in the subcutaneous devices. When implants are commonly used for payments, as is already the case in some establishments, will banking information be secure?