Better time management, luxury and convenience have been driving factors in many of the gadgets that have been invented and updated on a regular basis. It makes sense that the infusion of gadgets with daily activities will result in electronic tagging, or human microchipping, so that people can literally "keep up with the Joneses."
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Use in Animals
Animals were the first to be electronically-tagged. The Radio Frequency Identification tag was implemented in the same way a vet would perform vaccination. Microchips in animals contain information such as shot records and ownership documentation about the animals; this allows lost or stolen animals to be reunited with their owners.
First Microchipped Human
Thanks to its successful use in animals, in the 1990s, people began to wonder about the possibilities and convenience of microchip implantation, and in 1998, Kevin Warwick, a professor who teaches cybernetics at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom was the first human to have a microchip implanted in his body. The chip, which was implanted in his left arm had to be removed after nine days due to problems with its lithium-powered battery.
Use in Humans
In 2004, the U.S. Drug and Food Administration authorised the VeriChip Corporation to facilitate the use of electronic tagging solely for medical purposes. Although microchips haven't reached the "use it for transactions anywhere, anytime" stage just yet, they have been useful devices for high-risk patients including those diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia because they allow doctors to easily access their medical records.
Despite the convenience microchipping might offer people, due to privacy issues and possible large scale abuse due to human numbering, many states have seen legislation being introduced that prohibits the required implanting of microchips in humans. In some states, such as Wisconsin, legislation limiting human microchip implantation has successfully become law.
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- MSNBC: FDA Approves Computer Chip for Humans
- NineMSN: Humans 'Will Be Implanted with Microchips'
- IEEE Spectrum; 25 Microchips That Shook the World; Brian Santo; May, 2009
- CNN; Is Human Chip Implant Wave of the Future?; Sam Witt; January, 1999
- Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau: Human Microchip Implantation