In few years, people will be able to carry under their skin small electronic devices that will allow them to be identified, to share personal information or to shop without a credit card. Artist Anthony Antonellis wanted to test this technology and he has implanted a small NFC / RFID chip in his hand with the purpose of distributing artwork. The chip is the size of a grain of sand and contains digital data that can be accessed wirelessly using a smartphone.
Storage devices are getting cheaper, and anyone can afford a USB stick or an external HDD. Antonellis wanted to go the extra mile and show everyone that it’s possible to implant a small storage device under the skin. The experiment was not about the storage capacity but rather about the simplicity of the process. The chip has a storage capacity of 1KB, just enough to store a small gif made of 10 frames and 6 colors.
The NFC / RFID chip was embedded in a glass case and it was injected under the skin. It features a small antenna that allows it to communicate with other devices found at 0.5 – 1 inch away. The transfer of information works in both directions, so Antonellis can read and write the 1KB of memory as he pleases.
According to the artist, the GIF stored in the chip could be a form of modern art. I’m sure that believers and conspirationists are already taking a front seat in what’s their own horror version of “The Rapture”. In fact, things are not going to be that bad (unless we let them). This technology could have many applications in fields like medicine, where Alzheimer’s patients can use such small devices as pacemakers.
Anthony Antonellis is not the only man who has small electronic implants under his skin. In July 2013, Rich Lee implanted the first magnetic headphones into his ears.