Epicenter, a startup based in Stockholm, made headlines earlier this year when more than 100 employees got access passes to their office implanted into their arms.
Now it’s unveiled a gadget consisting of an NFC (Near Field Communications) implant that contains data, which can be retrieved with a reader device such as a NFC-compatible smartphone.
Epicenter's Chief Disruption Officer Hannes Sjöblad said: “Implants are very versatile technology that can be used for many different things, and right now it is very convenient to have Covid passport always accessible on your implant.”
Sjöblad added: “In case your phone runs out of battery, it’s always accessible to you. So of course, that’s how we use this technology today, next year we are going to use it for something else."
In a video, Sjöblad demonstrated how the chip – which is the size of a grain of rice – works, simply waving a smartphone across his arm.
A document containing his vaccination status then instantly appears on the phone’s screen.
Sjöblad said the procedure is ‘completely reversible’, and also does not require a special phone app.
He continued: “The implant is readable by any smartphone that has NFC function. So I can go to a restaurant or a movie theatre, I just show them my arm and swipe me with the smartphone, and then that pops up the Covid passport that I have on my chip.”
Many venues in Sweden require proof of vaccination before people are allowed to enter the building, in a bid to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“It’s kind of similar to a QR code, it’s just that of course I don’t want a QR code on my skin,” Sjöblad said.
The implants are not currently available for sale, but Epicenter regularly hosts ‘implant events’ for people who are interested in the concept.
Speaking about the technology back in 2017 – before the idea was used as a means of storing vaccination status, Patrick Mesterton, Co-founder and CEO of Epicenter, said in a 2017 statement: “The biggest benefit I think is convenience.
“It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.”Featured Image Credit: Ruptly