Dangerous Things’ xNT: a personal NFC chip in your hand
An embeddable chip that has the potential to rid you of keys and instantly unlock your phone is now available on Indiegogo
theguardian.com, Friday 1 November 2013 17.12 GMT
Keys have been a necessary evil for the last century or so, but what if you could unlock your house, your phone or you computer with just your hand? That is what the xNT will enable using near field communication (NFC).
Produced by biohacking and NFC-firm Dangerous Things, the xNT is the world’s first NFC-compliant radio frequency identity tag that can be implanted inside your body.
Measuring 2 x 12mm the NFC tag is encased in a biologically resistant glass capsule and is looking for $8,000 in funding on Indiegogo to start mass production, with pledges of $99 and up winning you your very own xNT pre-loaded into an injection tube ready for implantation.
NFC works by emitting a low power radio-frequency signature that can be recognised by sensors, which can then trigger pre-programmed events. NFC is currently used by mobile devices for one-tap Bluetooth pairing, as well as the transfer of photos and even payments.
Once implanted in your hand, the NFC chip can be programmed for just about anything, including opening locks, starting your car, unlocking your computer or phone, or as a one-tap digital business card.
Why it might not work
The chip has to be implanted directly into your body, normally between the thumb and first finger, which might put people off the xNT over something like an NFC band or bracelet.
NFC also hasn’t seen massive uptake to date, but that may change in the near future, as NFC payments and one-tap functions become more commonplace. To get the most out of an xNT at the moment, the user will have to create custom solutions and won’t be able to rely on off-the-shelf devices for the most part.
Why it might take off
Having a programmable NFC chip permanently implanted inside your hand has the potential to rid you of the need for keys, a wallet and to trigger all sorts of labour and time-saving automated processes.
The ability to instantly unlock a phone or computer alone would see the chip being used tens of times a day on their own, which combined with almost limitless identification possibilities could make the nXT invaluable.
The implantable xNT chip certainly holds a lot of potential, and could be the tip of the iceberg for body modification, if you can get over the surgical procedure required to actually fit the chip.