Three Square Market, a Wisconsin-based vending machine company, announced today it will become the first U.S. company to implant microchips in some of its employees.
Workers who have the chips implanted in their hands will be able to use them to scan and open doors, make purchases in the break room, login to computers, and use the copy machine.
The implanted chip is about the size of a grain of rice and is inserted between the thumb and forefinger under the skin. Each one costs about $300 to purchase, and the company says it will cover the cost of the device and implanting procedure.
Three Square Market assured the public in a statement that the program is “optional for all employees,” and it expects about 50 people to participate in the program. It also insists that chip cannot be used for GPS tracking and the data exchanged between the chip and readers is encrypted.
The RFID chip (short for radio-frequency identification) the company is using is made by Biohax International, a Swedish company specializing in biotechnology.
The chip uses electromagnetic fields to identify tags attached to objects, similar to the near-field communication technology used in mobile payments, public transit systems, passports, and (gulp!) animal identification.