Friday, February 23, 2007

I don't know whether to be excited or scared...

Check out this pic featured on Mainichi today - the horizontal line going across the photo is a human hair. Those little squares around it are MICROCHIPS!!! Can you believe they've gotten miniaturization THAT SMALL???? It's unbelievable!

Hitachi has created these chips (small enough to be embedded in a sheet of paper) to be used as product trackers relaying information wirelessly - I assume to help with computerized inventories, etc.

Shows what I know! Just SOME of the uses I found online for these chips, also called "Smart Tags", are:

• Hitachi uses them in its production processes to keep track of printed circuit boards that are compliant with the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. Read

• For people who have to take a lot of medication: interactive blister packs of pills. "The pack is configured to alert the user when the medication is due to be taken. Removal of a pill from the blister triggers another alarm, which is disabled when the user answers a question printed onto the pack. The time of each operation and the answers are stored, to be uploaded later via the Internet to a secure site." Never forget your pills again! Read

• "Has the vaccine been overheated in transit?"
"Has the surgeon left something in the patient?"
"Has this single use catheter (or other one-time-only use item) been used already?"
The chip will let you know!

There's tons more uses out there, check out this Google search for more.

It's very cool, but it's also a little scary! The thought of everything you come in contact with being tagged and potentially tracked and monitored by someone is a little spooky too. But the benefits look to be huge, so I guess it's just a matter of benefits outweighing risks - I wonder where the line will end up being drawn? Hard to say, but it should be interesting technology to watch!