Computer Chip Implants

Friend or Foe

Digital Angel and Verichip






For Emerging Technologies


Rogers State University


Professor Cliff Layton


February 25, 2002










            With the world constantly changing new technologies are on the rise.  One of those technologies is that of computer chips and tracking software. The technology of computer chips that can be implanted within a living organism is one of the newest concepts today. There are distinct advantages with the ability to track people using those computer chips as well as some disadvantages of having this technology. This is a new application of a technology that has existed, grown, and changed for many years.


Computer chips were first developed in 1958. Chips are built out of semiconducting materials. A semiconductor is a material that is neither a good conductor of electricity nor a good insulator. The most common semiconductor material used in making computer chips is the element silicon. To make a computer chip, manufacturers start with a single crystal of pure silicon, which they slice into thin wafers. The silicon wafer is then coated with a light-sensitive coating. A template with the patterns of chip components on it is projected onto the wafer with intense ultraviolet light. The parts of the chip that are exposed to the light are then etched with gases and showered with ions to create transistors.[1] An Integrated Circuit is a tiny electronic circuit used to perform a specific electronic function it is usually combined with other components to form a more complex system. Hundreds of these integrated circuits can be arrayed on a silicon wafer 8 to 15 cm in diameter. There have been many changes in electronic equipment due to the increased functional capability and reliability combined with great reductions in size, physical complexity, and power consumption. The chips have gotten extremely small now, and science is getting where it can now place these inside of people. [2]

Applied Digital Solutions (ADS) received patent rights to Digital Angel technology on December 10, 1999. Applied Digital Solutions is an advanced digital technology development company that focuses on a range of early warning alert, miniaturized power sources and security monitoring systems combined with the comprehensive data management services required to support them.[3] Through its Advanced Wireless unit, the Company specializes in security-related data collection, value-added data intelligence and complex data delivery systems for a wide variety of end users including commercial operations, government agencies and consumers. The biggest thing that set Digital Angel apart was the design of a miniature digital transceiver specifically created for human implantation.[4]

The microchip sends and receives data and can be continuously tracked by Global Positioning Satellite technology. This chip when implanted within a body is powered electromechanically through the movement of muscles, and it can be activated either by the person with the implant or by a monitoring facility. It can be used to provide identification, animal tracking, medical conditions, or tracking of lost or missing individuals. A few people have all ready been fitted with the devices at least 45 millionaires have been fitted with the chips in secret.[5]

The first of these chips were made for animal tracking. The devices were implanted within cattle to help ranchers track them efficiently. Other companies have experimented and have patents on the implantation of other devices within personal pets such as dogs and cats. These animals would then be tracked by satellite technology.


Satellites are objects placed purposely in orbit around the earth or other stellar bodies.  There are many different types of satellites. There are different satellites from ones used for weather, to navigation, broadcasting, and for use in spying or tracking. Since the launching of the first artificial satellite in 1957, thousands of these have been sent into space to orbit the earth. Satellites are used in the communications industry, in military intelligence, and in the scientific study of both the earth and outer space.[6]

            Satellites have revolutionized communication by making worldwide information links and live broadcasts common occurrences. A satellite receives a microwave signal from a ground station on the earth called an uplink it then amplifies and retransmits the signal back to a receiving station or stations on earth at a different frequency called the downlink. A communication satellite is in geosynchronous orbit, which means it orbits at the same speed as the earth is revolving. The satellite then stays in the same position relative to the surface of the earth, so that the broadcasting station will never lose contact with the receiver.[7]

Applied Digital Solutions announced the VeriChip a miniaturized, implantable identification chip on Dec 19, 2001. The VeriChip is an implantable, 12mm by 2.1mm radio frequency device about the size of the point of a typical ballpoint pen. The chip can be used for medical, security, tracking, and emergency applications. Each VeriChip will contain a unique identification number and other critical data. Utilizing an external scanner, radio frequency energy passes through the skin energizing the dormant VeriChip, which then emits a radio frequency signal transmitting the identification number and other data contained in the VeriChip. The scanner will display the identification number, but the VeriChip data can also be transmitted, via telephone or the Internet, to an FDA compliant, secure data-storage site. It will then be accessible by authorized personnel. Inserting the VeriChip device is a simple procedure performed in an outpatient, office setting. It requires only local anesthesia, a tiny incision and perhaps a small adhesive bandage. Sutures are not necessary.[8]

One of the first people to experiment with a similar chip is Professor Kevin Warwick of the University of Reading in England. He is known to be the first human with such an implant chip. The professor implanted this chip within his arm in August of 1998. The chip which was about an inch long and a tenth of an inch wide. The professor was able to turn on lights and open automatic doors, when walking by computers at the University they would automatically pull up his favorite Web pages. The professor said that his body could accept the chip within ten days and stay in his body permanently if he wished.[9]


Some of the uses of chip could also be used for medical. Hundreds of thousands of medical devices are surgically implanted into patients every year. Examples of these life-saving and life-enhancing devices include pacemakers, artificial joints, orthopedic hardware, heart valves, and medication pumps. After placing one of  these devices into a patient they often require adjustment, repair, replacement, or recall. The VeriChip, inserted below the skin just above the implanted medical device, provides patients, medical providers, and manufacturers with a rapid, secure and non-invasive method for obtaining medically critical information. The VeriChip can be a source of data about the patient's name and condition as well as the medical device's original components, settings, and  essential parameters. It may be possible to include full medical record archives of the patient  for medical care.[10]

Another chip that is very important it the Digital Angel Chip. It is probably the largest opposed chip. Digital Angel represents the first-ever combination of advanced biosensor technology and Web-enabled wireless telecommunications linked to Global Positioning Systems. The chip by utilizing advanced biosensor capabilities will be able to monitor key body functions and transmit that data anywhere in the world while giving out accurate location information to a ground station or monitoring facility. The Digital Angel Corporation will merger with Medical Advisory Systems which is a corporation that holds medical information for patients.[11]

Also, the Digital Angel will be powered by  a unit called Thermo Life(TM). It is  a proprietary, thermoelectric generator powered by body heat. The Thermo Life is part of the device that is intended to provide a miniaturized power source for a wide range of consumer electronic devices, including attachable or implantable medical devices. The Company a wholly owned subsidiary called Advanced Power Solutions, Inc. (APSI) estimates that the potential marketplace for Thermo Life exceeds $30 billion.[12]

Of note, the recommended spot of placement for an implantation chip when not grouped with other devices is within the hand. Part of the reason is for example the use of new ATM machines that could read a persons information off of their hand instead of with a card. It has been said that the country is going more towards a cashless society and this could help make a difference in that field.

People have been interested in ways of tracking individuals for a while now. Law enforcement and many citizens would like the ability to track and know the whereabouts of felons and sex offenders. Implant technology could be used to track them as well so that one would know where they were at any given time. One example of this is that of for lost children. Technology aids law enforcement during the most critical time in the search for a missing child. The first few hours immediately following a child’s disappearance are said to be the most important. The longer  that a child is missing, the less likely that the child will be recovered safely. Some techniques such as distributing a child’s picture rapidly can make the difference in recovering a child quickly or prolonging the search. [13]

Many parents have are concerned with their ability to find their children if they are lost or abducted. Many cities now offer free fingerprinting for children so that parents are able to


identify their children if they are gone for a long period of time. Also recommended is  some of these biometric technologies which can identify individuals by their unique biological or physical characteristics, such as fingerprints, voiceprints, retina characteristics, and face recognition points. This allows for a child to be recognized months or years later.  Even with those technologies most parents want ways to find their children faster. A parent can currently purchase a pager, watch, or other electronic device and have a computer chip inside it that can be used to track the child anywhere in the world. This leads to implanting chips within children and adult for tracking purposes. Also, the Verichip can be used for emergency or security identification. The VeriChip relies on imbedded, tamper-proof, microchip technology, which allows for non-invasive  access to identification, medical and other critical data. Using the VeriChip technology can reduce the threat of theft, loss, duplication or counterfeiting of data. It has the ability  of being used in several areas to enhance present forms of identification, search and rescue, and various law enforcement and defense uses.[14]


            The tracking of adults especially of terrorists after the 911 attack has become an important issue. A spokesman for Applied Digital Systems was quoted as saying, “We’ve changed our thinking since September 11, now there’s more of a need to monitor evil activities.” Many of the terrorists who were involved in the attack were in the country illegally. On this basis President George W. Bush on January 25, 2002 announced plans to develop a federal tracking system to monitor the arrival and departure of non U.S. citizens from airports, ports, and U.S. Borders. The idea is to improve the ability to deny access to individuals who should be kept out of the country and possibly speed up the existing legitimate traffic. Bush proposed this system to be ran by the Immigration and Naturalization Service which will have to deal with individuals entering and exiting the country. Many other agencies under the Office of Homeland Defense will be given new technology to track terrorists such as facial recognition, iris, and palm implant devices. There are 1.4 million people and 360 thousand vehicles that cross U.S. borders daily.[15]A possible device such as a hand scanner could possibly speed up customs or airplane boarding.


Along with all of these concerns for individuals entering the U.S. different groups within the country oppose the use of implant devices. The ACLU announced opposition to mandatory microchip implantation when applied to humans.[16]Also many other religious groups have condemned the use of the technology. Many refer to it as helping to lead to the end of the world also being known as the mark of the beast.

" . . . and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Revelation 13:15-17” [17]

            The technology for implanting computer chips within humans and for using it for tracking is a remarkable technology. The technology can be used from the use of helping to identify individuals, to global tracking, to ATM transactions, to the monitoring of medical equipment within individuals. Many companies are working to improve this technology and make it implantable within humans. It has the potential to be very useful it also has the potential to be dangerous. With the new technology it will probably just a few more years before it is common to have chips implanted and used within individuals.





[1] All rights  "Chip," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation reserved.



[2] "Integrated Circuit," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.




[6] "Satellite, Artificial," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


[7] "Satellite Relay System," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.


[15] http://www.