A small lump on the back of Dave Williams's hand the size of a rice and between his thumb and forefinger. It was barely visible, but when he opened the door to his house with him, he became the center of attention.
This British software engineer, who works for Mozilla, has a microchip embedded in his hand, an electronic circuit in the form of a pill that works with wireless technology.
"I have a very bad memory," he told the BBC. That's why he decided to implant the small device that allowed him not to panic if he forgot the key to the house.
This is the same type of chip Fashion in Sweden and in other Western countries as Germany, Australia and New Zealand, where several initiatives have been carried out to promote this futuristic technology.
But the Swedish case draws special attention. Thousands of people in the Nordic country – some 3,000, according to an AFP report in May this year – the microchip has been embedded. Although the numbers tend to be higher.
"More and more people in Sweden are planting RFID chips in their hands and using them open the door, & carry # 39; ticket train and even make payments", said BBC World Ben Libberton, a doctor in the field of microbiology who worked in the MAX IV laboratory from Lund, in southern Sweden.
An RFID, unlike a barcode, allows remote access to the information it contains. This is used in anti-theft labels, in ski resorts and also on"identification chip" for pets.
They are also applied in most smart phones and contactless cards, as well as in electronic passports.
But in recent years, its use in humans has gained special relevance. Sweden leads the trend.
This theme began to make headlines in 2015when Epicenter, a high-tech company based in Stockholm, caused some controversy by announcing that they would invest chips for their workers.
With a touch of the wrist, employees can access the building, use a copier or pay for coffee.
"The biggest benefit is comfort", said the co-founder and company director, Patrick Mesterton, in 2017. "This makes it possible to replace many things, such as credit cards or keys."
Pay by hand
Chips make it possible to realize payment without contact (without contact), a practice specifically promoted in Sweden where almost 1% of the value of all transactions carried out in 2016 is made in cash.
Some of the transactions are carried out on the train.
SJ National Railway Company – the largest in the country – This is the first in the world to receive this type of payment.
When the reviewer passes, some passengers put their hands near their application smartphone. Train tickets seem outdated.
Everyone who has a microchip like this in his hand beforehand has to register with the company to get a number and can pay.
Stephen Ray, director of communications at SJ, knows the system very well because he himself has a microchip planted under the skin of his hand.
In this way, the observer's mobile screen shows that the passenger has paid for the ticket and indicates the telephone number and name.
"The only information taken by SJ from the microchip ticket is the membership number in the SJ loyalty program," Ray told BBC Mundo.
"This number it is not considered confidential and customer privacy is guaranteed from our perspective, "he added.
At present, this technology is only used in your company for regional travel. But the plan is that it includes even more.
However, Ray explained that "It will never be mandatory" for their customers to embed this chip and that "they are only contemplated asoptional servicewhich we consider to be a pilot project ".
Stephen said the idea was for this initiative to be extended to other areas (and other payments) from everyday life, such as credit cards.
However, not everyone supports microchips or have an optimistic vision.
"This technology reduces the number of cards and devices they need, it makes 'miniaturization' very large, so it is impossible to lose them," Libberton told BBC Mundo.
But microbiologists warn that he is worried about how the chip can violate the privacy and security of those who use it.
"Because these chips are integrated into more digital services, they will reveal more data if they are compromised. It's a weak point in terms of security, " explain.
"Imagine if you use it to unlock your house or access your bank account. I am worried that its convenience will make it easier for important data to leak. "
And leave questions in the air: "The risk will be even greater when they start entering biological data to the chip. If the company knows more than you about your own health, What are the ethical implications and who determines the rules? ", concluded.
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