Why tho

We hate it: This implantable microchip stores your COVID vaccine status

Ever wanted a chip in your arm that opens up a PDF? Then we have good news for you.

Hannes Sjoblad, director of DSruptive Subdermals, holds an implant between his fingers in Stockholm ...

Today in innovation we absolutely don’t need: a small Swedish company has created a microchip capable of carrying all your vaccination information. The chip can then be implanted beneath the skin to prove your COVID vaccination status without ever having to pull out a pesky index card. There is an obvious trade-off here because you have to actually implant a computer chip in your arm for the idea to work.

“I have my COVID passport on the chip, and the reason is that I always want to have it accessible,” explains Hannes Sjoblad, managing director of Dsruptive Subdermals, in an AFP News video.

Hannes then goes on to demonstrate the chip’s functionality. Here’s how it works: once the chip has been buried in your actual body, you can swipe your phone just above it to open up your COVID vaccine passport. Which is just a PDF file. The chip — which, again, must be implanted in your corporeal form — simply opens up a PDF.

A… chip? — A microchip, really. Dsruptive’s homebrewed hardware is just 12 to 14 millimeters long and 2 millimeters wide. Inside is a custom board (with an NFC antenna); the outside is made of something the company calls “bioglass.”

Dsruptive Subdermals

The chip itself is self-sustaining. It doesn’t use any power source other than some taken when NFC transactions occur. It only has 2KB of memory, but that memory is guaranteed to keep working for 50 years, Dsruptive says.

Dsruptive, which only began human trials last year, hopes to use this same chip technology for much more than just vaccine passports. Think storing your credit card info or measuring body temperature.

Lol, no thanks — Implantable tech has its uses. Birth control implants, for example, are a genuinely useful alternative to pills. Or brain implants that can help paralyzed patients.

A chip implant that just opens up a PDF? Not so much. Let your mind wander, for a moment, to all the ways a microchip like this could be abused or hijacked. Think about how you would then be carrying that hacked chip inside your body. For most people, the risks outweigh the benefits by a mile.

This use of Dsruptive’s tech is particularly frustrating in the current moment because there are so many other ways we could improve our proof-of-vaccination systems. Better, more secure apps for storing vaccine information would be a great start, and would provide the same ease of access as swiping your phone on an implant.

If, for some reason, you want one of these bad boys shot into your arm skin, it’ll cost you 100 euros (about $113). But actually, the company isn’t even selling them to individuals right now, according to its website. Maybe by the time the pandemic is done?