Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Cyborg Rights & Digital Divides

Courtesy: Ryan O’Shea, 2015

Grindhouse Wetware’s Northstar implanted in a hand with its LEDs lit up. The Northstar is a magnet-activated and LED-equipped subdermal device. The next iteration of Northstar will allow users to control devices by gesture. It will have Bluetooth capabilities and add patterns or color variations to the LED display. Courtesy: Ryan O’Shea, 2015

By Katina Michael

A growing number of people are implanting smart chips into their bodies. What issues do the rise of these “augmented and amplified” people raise?

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Imagine a world where keys had become obsolete, and with just a wave of a hand with an embedded proximity chip you could gain entry into your front door, vehicle and workplace assets. What if you could also use your unique ID chip to conduct point-of-sale transactions, thus doing away with cash and the need to carry your mobile phone wallet altogether?

This may sound futuristic, but the technology to make that happen has been around since World War 2. It’s called radio­frequency identification (RFID), but some people today might know it as near-field communications (NFC). RFID doesn’t require direct contact or line-of-sight. Instead, the tag is triggered by an antenna that uses radio frequency waves to transmit a signal. NFC is a short-range wireless connectivity standard that uses magnetic field induction to enable communication between devices when they’re touched together or brought within a few centimetres of each other.

Passive RFID transponder implants have been used in NSW since 1998 to register cats and dogs. In 1999 Australia introduced a system for identifying livestock using a permanent device that remained in the animal for its lifetime. The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS), which was first applied in the beef industry and then extended in 2009 to the sheep and goat industries, was a demonstration of Australia’s commitment to...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.