An Australian man named Ben Slater has undergone a radical procedure in anticipation of the iPhone 6. Already, he can open doors, turn on lights, and, soon enough, start his car with a flick of his wrist. If you have the right kind of phone, Mr. Slater can even transfer his contact information with a touch of his forefinger.
Ben Slater had a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip inserted in the webbing of his right hand. NFC is a type of radio communication smartphones can engage in when they are only a few centimeters apart. Originally, the NFC chip was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004 “for its use to carry information about people’s medical conditions.” Slater, however, installed the chip to accommodate the iPhone 6’s NFC capabilities. And given Apple’s iOS 8 has plans to incorporate wireless control, Slater may be further ahead of the curve than anyone else.
In an interview with the Daily Mail Australia, Slater says, “The most obvious thing the chip allows me to do is store my contact information on it, so that I can just touch a phone with NFC and pass my information to their phone. That is a great party trick.” Slater also goes on to say that, “It intrigues me that we live in an age where this type of activity is even possible.”
While NFC technology is not new, few have harnessed the technology to the extent Slater has. He joins a very small, but growing number of people who have decided to insert NFC chips into their bodies. They all hope that one day smartphones, laptops, and TVs will all be controlled by touch. This goes beyond the touchscreen capabilities we have today – picture a world in which artificial intelligence, vehicles, and household appliances can be activated with a wave of the hand. Together, these technologies will make the advances featured in Tony Stark’s mansion seem commonplace.
Of course, the impact of NFC technology will be widespread in ways we can only imagine, for both good and ill. While implanting such chips can bring obvious benefits to those suffering from complex medical conditions, questions concerning privacy invite a whole new set of challenges and controversy. If you think tracking your smartphone is an infringement on your personal privacy, then you’ll surely shudder at the thought of such technology being used to monitor humans. Ah, the complexity of modern living.