“All the Rage” in Sweden and on the Farm: The Mark of the Beast May Be Closer Than You Think

By Futurism. . .[A] growing number of people — including, for whatever reason, about 3,000 Swedes — are opting for something even more invasive, and arguably practical: a surgically inserted microchip, according to the Associated French Press.

The chip itself essentially acts as a digital keychain. NFC (near-field communication) is a way of sending information wirelessly from a passive chip to a reader, but only when they are about 4 cm (1.6 in) apart (you might have heard of radio frequency identification, or RFID — NFC is a more sophisticated form of it). A chip in the hand can help people do things like sign into the gym, unlock doors to cars and offices, and make credit card payments. Over time, as the technology progresses, the implant will be able to do even more. . .

But now, people who get the implant aren’t counterculture biohackers — they’re the everyman. This is especially true in Sweden, where these chips are so mainstream that, since June 2017, people have been able to buy train tickets with their microchips.

More bodies equipped with microchips doesn’t necessary sound like good news to everybody, however. NFC chips right below the skin give corporations a fair amount of control over you — they could track where you are, how long you take for lunch every day, or how many times you went to the bathroom, if the chip were scanned by a reader. And since most chips are offered through big companies, it’s just a matter of time until this happens. And opting out of this kind of data collection is a lot more convoluted when you’ve got a chip implanted in your bodily tissues. If you want to go off the grid in even the smallest way, you can leave your wallet at home, but removing a microchip requires bit more, uh, effort. (Read more from “All the Rage” in Sweden and on the Farm: The Mark of the Beast May Be Closer Than You Think” HERE)


Subcutaneous Fitbits? These Cows Are Modeling the Tracking Technology of the Future

By Technology Review. . .These cows are the first to try a device called EmbediVet, created by a startup named Livestock Labs. For now, they’re just going about their normal lives, unintentionally providing data that helps train an artificial neural network. The hope is that in the near future, this AI will help farmers figure out quickly and easily how well cows and other livestock are eating, whether they’re getting sick or about to give birth—things that are typically done today just by watching and waiting but are difficult to spot when you’ve got hundreds or thousands of animals to keep an eye on.

Embedded RFID sensors and other trackers have long been used in livestock, though generally just for identifying each animal. There are already some behavior-tracking wearables out there, such as collars, that use sensors to pinpoint events like cud-chewing and illness. But Livestock Labs claims that once EmbediVet is implanted—currently in a surgical procedure done under local anesthetic—it’s less annoying to the cow than a wearable and, potentially, a more powerful way to collect useful data and spot bovine behavior patterns over time. . .

Within months, Livestock Labs readied a new device—now called EmbediVet—for testing in cattle. Covered in a clear resin, it includes an ARM processor and Bluetooth and long-range radios, as well as a thermometer, accelerometer, and heart-rate monitor and pulse oximeter for measuring heart rate, blood oxygen levels, temperature, and basic activity. It runs on a coin-cell battery the company expects will last for about three years.

Why do it? Rood thinks that this kind of device can be more accurate than a wearable one such as a collar or an anklet, especially when it comes to tracking a metric like body temperature, which correlates with disease, in thick-skinned animals. (Read more from “Subcutaneous Fitbits? These Cows Are Modeling the Tracking Technology of the Future” HERE)

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