The xNT chip is 2 mm X 12 mm. Image: Dangerous Things/Vimeo
In November, we wrote about a hacker-gadget company, appropriately called Dangerous Things, that was attempting to crowdfund the first DIY human microchip enabled with near-field communication—a tiny device you implant under your skin to give you a machine-readable bionic hand.
That project, after blowing past its $8,000 fundraising goal (who knew so many people wanted to inject a mini-computer into their body?), is hot off the production line, packed in a sterilized package, and is selling online for 99 bucks.
The product's called the xNT, and is distinguished from other implantable microchips because it's the first commercial one to use near-field communication. NFC is the much-smarter younger cousin of RFID, which means it connects you to your smartphone: You could pay for your groceries, open your front door, unlock your phone, and start your car literally with the wave of a hand.
To inject the tag, intrepid technophiles will need either a "body modification professional," the Indiegogo campaign explained, or at least a friend following along with the DIY instructions provided by the company—though there's not much stopping someone from self-injecting the tag.
Frankly, the commercialization of body-hacking itself even the craziest thing about this, if you ask me; it's the glimpse into the pseudo-Orwellian (or incredibly convenient, depending who you ask) future of internet-enabled tagged humans. A future where we can take money out of an ATM, board the metro, make a phone call, or pay a toll with our bodies, eliminating the need for cumbersome objects or elecronics, even slick, pocket-sized or wearable ones.
According to the Indiegogo campaign, Dangerous Things' Amal Graafstra plans to “continuously find and develop new devices, software, and services you can use your xNT implant with. Whenever possible, these projects will be open-sourced, allowing the community to customize systems and build new solutions."
So, ye cyborgian readers, if you missed the Indiegogo early-adopter phase, you can now purchase a turnkey body tag on the company’s website. But be forewarned, as the site states, "This is definitely a dangerous thing. This device has not been tested or certified by any regulatory agency for implantation or use inside the human body. Use of this device is strictly at your own risk."
I'd say don't try this at home, but...