Archive | Biohacking

NFC chip implants are a bad idea

In the video below I outline five reasons why I think NFC chip implants are a bad idea.

As a quick background: I had an NFC chip implanted and used it as a boarding pass when traveling. I recorded a video showing what it looked like when I had the chip implanted and also when I used at the airport. I did this to find out whether or not it’s a feasible usage of NFC technology. My conclusion is that it is not. (Check out the original video here…). However, I did learn a lot from a general innovation and experimentation perspective. I’ll come back to that in a later post.

In summary, the five reasons why NFC chip implants are a bad idea include:

  • Solves no real problem
  • Doesn’t work well
  • Takes more time (compared with using tags not implanted, or in the case of boarding passes – the old kind, paper or device)
  • Not possible to use the NFC chip for more than one thing at the time (in the majority of solutions)
  • Serious health risks

Note: The list does not include irrational fear relating to integrity and privacy, since NFC chips cannot be remotely monitored or controlled. The “NF” stands for Near Field. Also, the list does not either include any irrational pseudo-Christian criticism. I have commented on this already in the Comments-section in the original video and won’t engage any further on that topic here.

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Connecting my retinal implant to Google Translate

Update: Yes, this is an April’s Fools’ Day joke. But consider that given the increase of adoption of wearables and IoT in general and that research on retinal implants is serious already, it’s not strange that most of the comments I received through various channels indicate that many believed this specific retinal implant experiment to be true. I am not laughing, because eventually we will see these implants in the market.
My opinion regarding implants is that they are irrelevant in the form of NFC or if they serve as authentication vehicles alone. We can solve those challenges without going under the skin. Only when implants actually belong in the body, meaning they add value to the body itself, will adoption be likely. I am sure most agree with me on this standpoint and that’s also why we look forward to improving lives with technology like this. The key to getting there is fundamentally about making it safe and always ensuring that the individual always has full control of data being passed in and out of its body. Health, personal integrity and security take on whole different meanings once we start interacting digitally with our brains. Exciting times ahead!

Original post:
I have just had my latest implant surgery done, and it’s amazing! As you know, I recently experimented with an NFC implant to board an aircraft, and concluded that implants just for the sake of authentication are irrelevant. The chip has to do more than that, to justify the “cost” of putting something under your skin. I therefore went and got myself a retinal implant, a chip that connects to my optical nerves.

I’ll cover this in more depth soon, but in summary the chip is connected over bluetooth to my phone, and it augments digital images into my optical nerve. The benefit is that not only can I “see” through the lens of the phone’s camera, but I can also see what is on the screen of the phone, without looking at it.

Below you can see how I connected to Google Translate to automatically get everything I see translated from one language to another. This weekend I will experiment with map directions and generally how much I can do without actually picking up my phone!



So, when I look at the cover of the book “The App Effect”, I can have the app translate it into German and augment the translate directly into my optical nerve.

This is what the book cover looks like…


… and this is what I see!


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Boarding a flight with an NFC implant

Update: This is just an experiment with no plans of actual public implementation. SAS has provided NFC tags to EuroBonus Gold members for a long time. The tag contains only the EuroBonus ID, in an encrypted format. Only SAS can write valid EuroBonus ID data to NFC tags. When traveling, you are always required to provide a valid ID when requested.

A few weeks ago I had an NFC chip implanted into my hand, just beneath the skin. While I am certainly not the first person to have an NFC implant, I am probably one of the first travelers to pass through Stockholm Arlanda airport, through security, at the lounge, and finally through the gate to the aircraft, using only the chip in my hand.

My NFC chip contains my Scandinavian Airlines EuroBonus member ID, and since the airport has NFC readers all the way from security to the gate, I can use the chip instead of ordinary boarding passes.

In the video below, you can check out how it went at the airport, and you can also meet Massimo Pascotto, working with innovation at SAS, and listen in on a conversation we had about the experiment. At the end of the video, you can see how the actual procedure went. Viewer discretion is advised.

Screen Shot 2016-01-08 at 13.28.35


The NFC kit I use is from Dangerous Things. Don’t miss the TEDxSFU talk by the founder, Amal Graafstra.

Continue Reading · 6 · Categories: Biohacking, Digital, Innovation, NFC, Video