Many Swedes already use subcutaneous implants for everyday tasks; they can now add their vaccination pass.
It has been several years since the concept of subcutaneous fleas began to become commonplace in Sweden. The Nordic country is one of the pioneers in this area, and many of its citizens have already taken the plunge; they can validate their metro ticket, pay for their sandwich or even access their gym thanks to a small capsule implanted in their hand. In today’s environment, it was probably only a matter of time before the concept crossed paths with the vaccine pass. It’s now done thanks to the startup Dsruptive Subdermals, whose work has been spotted by Insider.
Concretely, the product they offer takes more or less the same form as other implants of the kind. It is a 2 x 14 millimeter object that is implanted directly under the skin with a large needle. This can then be scanned by an external device to extract the relevant information. In this case, it is the vaccine pass, which the French mostly keep on their smartphone.
The basic idea is extremely simple: in this context where we regularly have to present documents that attest to our vaccination coverage, this would allow us to have all the necessary certificates with us at all times. The vaccination certificates but also the results of the tests could be recorded there.
As always with these technologies, there are underlying concerns about privacy and data protection. Hannes Sjoblad, CEO of DSruptive Subdermals, however, recalls that this is a technology that works exclusively passively. Indeed, these chips do not even have a battery capable of powering them.
The reader is responsible for sending a low-frequency, but high-energy radio signal to the chip; this energy is just enough to “wake up” the implant for a moment. Just long enough to convey its message to the reader – in this case, the immunization situation. This means that these passive chips are completely incapable of tracking their carrier. At least in the absence of another complementary element to feed it.
It remains to be seen whether such technology will really find its audience. In the majority of cases, people already take their phone – and therefore their vaccination pass – everywhere; it is therefore not certain that the concrete interest is sufficient to justify the 100 € that the chip costs… in France, at least. Because in Sweden, this technology is already democratizing at high speed and does not suffer from the same image problem. It is therefore not excluded that many Swedes will have recourse to it; it will be interesting to see if this concept will be emulated in other countries.