Vaccine passport in your hands, literally: This rice-sized chip with Covid data can be implanted into body

WION Web Team
Stockholm, Sweden Published: Dec 22, 2021, 06:08 PM(IST)

This image shows rice-sized microchip invented by Swedish start-up company called Epicentre Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

The multi-functional chip stores COVID-19 vaccination along with passport data and can also be used for making contactless payments

A Swedish start-up company called Epicentre has invented a 'rice-sized' microchip that can be implanted under your skin.

The multi-functional chip stores COVID-19 vaccination records along with passport data and can also be used for making contactless payments.

Approximately 6,000 people living in Sweden have got the chip injected into their hands.

The chip uses the near-field communication (NFC) protocol and transmits data through electromagnetic waves.

''Implants are very versatile technology that can be used for many different things, and right now it is very convenient to have COVID passport always accessible on your implant,'' said Hannes Sjöblad, chief distribution officer of Epicentre.

Also read | Sweden acted too slowly as pandemic swept country, finds probe

''In case your phone runs out of battery, it's always accessible to you. So of course, that's how we use this technology today, next year we are going to use it for something else,'' said Sjoblad.

According to the company's co-founder and CEO Patrick Mesterton, ''The biggest benefit I think is convenience.''

''It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.''

Also read | How has Sweden become the Silicon Valley of Europe despite having one of the highest tax rates in the world?

Sweden is currently ratcheting up restrictions aimed at fighting a surge in new infections of the COVID-19 virus.

The country has urged all employees to work from home if possible and imposed tighter rules for social distancing.

The new rules also require seated-only service at bars and restaurants as well as at larger public events.

"We must now take joint responsibility and we need to adapt to the new reality," Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told a news conference.

"I understand that many are tired of this - so am I - but we now have a new virus variant, which means we are in a new situation."

The country of 10.3 million people is still seeing some of the lowest levels of new cases in Europe, according to the WHO, but it has seen an increase of 37 percent in the 14-day incidence rate, compared to the preceding period.

(With inputs from agencies)

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