Talk:Entrepreneur's RFID chip implant to open doors, start car/Notes

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Interviewed over email by User:IlyaHaykinson. Questions prefixed by dash (-).

Message 1[edit]

-----Original Message-----
- briefly tell me about yourself.  i take it you work in the technical
position at a web hosting provider?

I have no RFID background at this point, however I do have an extensive
tinkering/gadgetry background. I like to mod things
(http://amal.net/blog/links/07-07-04_1455.jpg,
http://amal.net/blog/links/07-07-04_1642.jpg), and I guess it was only
natural that it extended to my own body. I became interested in RFID and
other alternate means of identification a while back. I constantly lose
my keys... and my wallet... yeah, I'm one of those guys. So I was
sitting around thinking about keys and credit cards, and the obvious
truth that these chunks of metal and pieces of plastic were really
representing me... basically identifying me to whatever mechanisms and
systems they worked with, be it my front door deadbolt or my bank
account. I basically just wanted to get rid of my keys and wallet.

A lot of people ask why not use biometrics, an approach that uses your
own body and features to identify you... and I guess I have my own big
brother paranoia. Given the choice of Orwellian societies, I'd rather
live in one based on RFID tags than fingerprints, DNA, or facial
structure... because an RFID tag system is easy to manage and opt-out
of... DNA sampling or facial recognition is, well, not.

As for the future of my involvement with RFID past my own projects, I'm
already talking to many of my clients (I provide services to medical
clinics and other medical related industries) for tracking
products/items, such as blood test vials, throughout the entire
process... from collection to testing to storage and eventually to
disposal or whatever it's final destination is.

I own Morpheus Inc., which started out as a webhosting company but now
we are expanding into managed computing environments
(http://morpheusinc.com/mce). I also am part owner in a venture called
WireCutter (http://www.wirecutter.com), which I am very excited about.


- why did you decide to implant yourself with an RFID chip?

It honestly started out because of the car keys issue I talked about
above... but really, when you get right down to it, the proceedure was
rather trivial, so why not? Right now I'm only looking at this thing in
a personal context... something really only for me. As for society at
large... night clubs in Spain are already using RFID chips to let
customers put drinks on their tabs and enter VIP lounge areas... I think
Australian pubs are doing the same as well. I'm not sure if they use
encrypted implants or not... I was more interested in just getting
something simple, cheap, and fun to play with.


- how long did the process take? was it painful during or after?

The proceedure was rather simple. Normally, the RFID chip is implanted
with a needle and syringe and is as simple as a swab of anesthetic,
inject, bandaid, done. However, we couldn't find a needle 2mm in size in
stock, so we resorted to a scalpel. The chip itself was placed into a
container with a powerful anasthetic. I was asked if I had any allergies
to any medications or latex or anything like that. I washed my hands
with soap. The tools were taken out of their sealed sterile bags, and I
was told not to touch them or the clean sheet on the little table. They
look like a jumbled mess because they fell out of the sterile bags that
way. Then I just sat down in a chair and my hand was swabbed with some
form of anesthetic... from the color of it, I'd guess it was iodine
based. A local anesthesia was injected (because I'm kind of a wussy) and
within a minute we were cutting into my skin. The chip itself is encased
in glass and is solid inside... probably containing some kind of epoxy
resin of some sort, so there is little chance of crushing or breaking
it. The chip was removed from the liquid it was soaking in with metal
tongs and dried, then inserted into the cut.

It was odd feeling it being pushed under the surface of my skin...
without feeling pain, I was able to really get a feel for just how
utilitarian our bodies actually are and how separate everything is...
how separate the skin layer really is from the muscle layer under it. It
really is just a rubbery protective coating. Complex and amazing, but
far less mysterious to me now.

The chip is placed between the skin layer (all the way under the skin)
and the muscle layer... but honestly, it could have gone anywhere. The
main concern is migration and read-range. You don't want a chip too deep
to get an effective read from, but you also don't want it scooting
around under your skin once it's in. This implant surface has nothing on
it... it is simply glass touching my body. However, the implants dogs
and cats get normally have a "cup" or half-coating on them which is a
porous polypropylene polymer sheath that allows development of
fibrocytes and collagen fibers to grow around the implant and impede
migration. The doc wasn't too worried about my implant moving around on
me though... and really the only problem if it does move is knowing
where it is so you can scan it.

After the chip was in place, the doc used skin glue instead of stitches
to close it up. After it was closed, some steri-strips were placed over
the site to help hold it together, and then a non-stick gauze bandage
pad was taped over top, then some really fancy loose gauze was wrapped
around my hand, making me look like a burn victim. I was told not to
flex or move my left hand or use it for anything for at least a couple
days. I was then given the standard "if it gets red or infected call me,
etc." patient care information. The whole proceedure took about 5
minutes to prep for, 1 minute to actually perform, and 5 minutes to
bandage up and go through the patient care information.

I had never had skin glue on me before and had my doubts... especially
since I went right out and disobeyed doctors orders... only an hour
after the proceedure, I had to move a bunch of rack mount servers from
one rack to another... a 2 hour process of lifting and using a
screwdriver and such. I babied that hand, but as the anesthesia wore
off, I could feel a little bit of pain in my hand... but I pressed on,
confident my skin glue had come apart. However, today I took off the
outer bandages and things looked fine... no blood or tearing.


- your site mentions that your friend who did the implantation is a
doctor -- is he / she worried about performing this type of an
operation? would he/she be willing to answer some questions (on or off
record)?

I just did this procedure last night, and as I have not asked the doctor
for permission to publish their name, I can't give that out... but they
happen to be a cosmetic surgeon, so it seemed the natural choice.
However, it was not hard to find someone to do the procedure... I have
many MDs for clients and the day I got my chips, I asked two and both
said they'd do it. I also stopped into a tattoo shop and asked them if
they'd do the procedure and, while they couldn't help me, they gave me
the number of someone who does body mods and said they would probably do
it no prob. Since I had two willing MDs, I didn't bother following up...
I was just curious to see how hard it might be to get someone to put
this thing in me.


- you are undoubtedly getting some feedback about this, both positive
and negative. any highlights?

I've not gotten much feedback yet, as this just happened last night. I
honestly didn't think so many people would find my flickr pictures that
interesting... I'm quite surprised at the number of image views. I put
the FAQ page up on my site simply for a few friends I sent the flickr
link to.

Message 2[edit]

 - who's the manufacturer of the chip? Verichip? How did you choose the
model?

I don't actually know the specific manufacturer of this chip... but it
is not VeriChip... I believe they use a proprietary encoding and reading
system for their chips, I like a standards based approach which allows
for the use of cheap and easily available equipment.