NFC chip under the skin: now possible in Switzerland

For some time now, chips under the skin are nothing new, as is NFC technology. Born as a contactless solution, Near Field Communication (NFC) is the joint work of Philips, Sony, LG, Nokia and Samsung. NFC technology has numerous applications and is used to facilitate operations that require the exchange of data between one electronic device and another. In fact, among these there is for example the possibility of paying with smartphones, which is increasingly widespread nowadays. Hence, and also for other reasons, the idea of ​​a Swiss surgeon who thought of making it possible to implant an NFC chip under the skin. A move that has seduced numerous enthusiastic citizens from beyond the Alps, without however avoiding controversy.

The details of the story

Christian Köhler is the name of the plastic surgeon from Zurich who carried out the project together with a company from Zug. To implant the microchip, 500 francs would be needed, equal to about 510 euros, while the cost of the device itself is about 300 euros . Although the device is the size of a grain of rice, the controversy it has stirred is much greater. In fact, someone has called them "sick", while others have invited the proponents of the project to be ashamed of something so inhumane.

But not everyone made such scathing judgments. Among the most enthusiastic, for example, Gianandrea Huonder, a twenty-two year old from Zurich who already has the implant. He actually stated to a local magazine:

I think it's great because if they steal everything from me during the holidays, I still have my money with me

Gianandrea Huonder

nfc under skin chip
3D illustration of under skin implant chip

Beyond the criticisms on the ethical side , however, there are also health risks . Köhler himself warns of possible dangers deriving from the breaking of the microchip. Once corrupted it might in fact cause infection . For this reason, before surgery, patients must sign a risk disclosure and give their consent. Despite the risk factors and complaints, many tech fans have requested implantation of the NFC chip under the skin, the surgeon revealed. Not only in view of greater simplicity in payments, but also for other daily activities related to home automation.

Chip under the skin, how NFC technology works

Also called Proximity Communication , NFC enables two-way contactless transmission of data between two devices that are close to each other. The technology is an evolution of RFID ( Radio-Frequency IDentification ) i.e. radio frequency identification. Like most of these inventions, it is a civilian spin-off of a military project for identifying friend or foe .

To date, this type of solution is present in our daily lives much more than one would expect. But how are devices using these technologies made and how do they work, and in our case, proximity communication? To use this method , a device must contain an NFC chip, either embedded in or inside a SIM or MicroSD card . This will allow it to communicate with other devices on which the same technology is present, for example payment terminals or NFC tags .

nfc under skin chip
NFC – Nearfield communication

Tags (or labels) are electronic devices composed of a chip and an RF antenna mounted on a substrate that supports them. The chip consists of a volatile memory and a unique code (UID) that the antenna transmits to the reader device. The latter, depending on the message, will read the data received and update them if necessary .

These are therefore small circuits in which a tiny amount of data is saved which can be read by approaching a device with NFC activated. The maximum transmission speed is 424 kbit/sec at a frequency of 13.56 MHz. Rather slow for even modest size files. However the instantaneousness of reception between two NFC-enabled devices (as opposed to Bluetooth for example) and the short operating distance make this communication more secure . In fact, the danger of intrusion by malicious people exists, but very remote thanks also to login and authentication.

The article NFC chip under the skin: now possible in Switzerland was written on: Tech CuE | Close-up Engineering .