Hack #48—Epicenter’s Micro Chip Hack
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Keys, wallet, phone — this is the mantra of every office worker before they leave the house in the morning. But many people will forget one essential item, resulting in a day of inconvenience. What if you could embed your keys in your hand instead of your pocket? This is what one office in Sweden did.
Epicenter is a multi-office space in Stockholm, Sweden. But it’s also more than that, they define themselves as “Stockholm’s first digital House of Innovation” and it’s a place where companies are encouraged to work alongside each other in a flexible environment.
It’s where TED talk entrepreneurs and start ups work together, but also play together. There are in-house magicians, a covered garden work space and rooms where you can box in a dojo and cuddle stuffed animals.
Hannes Sjöblad, Chief Disruption Officer at Epicenter, is making it his mission to disrupt dull office life. A self-described “biohacker”, he fell in love with an initiative created by a biohacking group called Dangerous Things that found a way to embed NFC compatible microchips into your hand. The chips are a simple piece of tech that effectively act as a key card. Once implanted: voila, your hand can open any door in the building and you don’t have to worry about grabbing that key card before you leave the house.
Implanting isn’t mandatory.
“I’m principally very much against the idea of a company chipping its employees. I would resist that in any setting. The implant events that we do are all about volunteers who are curious to explore the technology. People pay for the implants themselves. It’s their personal decision,” says Hannes.
The few brave souls who have been implanted love it. Josefine works at a gaming company called Star Stable, on the 5th floor of the building. Along with her colleague Thim, she is a proud “chipper” or cyborg. For about a year she was the only employee to have a chip.
“Now Thim is the second cyborg in the office so I don’t have to be alone with my chip. Now I have the beginning of an army of cyborgs. We have to recruit more.”
And in a place like Stockholm, where everyone is competing to be the most tech savvy, being a human cyborg gives the Epicenter residents an edge over the competition.
“A lot of my friends are very impressed with this whole office building, just in general, because everyone thinks it’s basically a cool place…My friend, she says that she has me as her idol due to me working here”, says Thim.
How to hack it
- According to Hannes: “If your company is interested in having chip implants instead of key badges in your office, it’s very simple. You just contact a local piercing studio, these guys are professionals, they enjoy and they’re skilled at making holes in people…Most professional piercing studios…do this as a matter of routine nowadays.”
- “The chip I have is from a U.S. company called Dangerous Things. It’s a Seattle based bio hacking group that works with NFC compatible chips.”
- “NFC is an upgraded communication standard for the internet of things which has some smarter functions as compared to the old RFID standards.”