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People Implanting Microchips Under Their Skin To Improve Their Lives

PITTSBURGH (CBS) — Microchip implants are a popular way to keep track of pets, but now some people are getting them implanted in hopes of improving their lives. The microchips can help unlock doors or log into a cell phone. Tim Shank uses it to open his front door and manipulate his smartphone. “It turned off my ringer,” Shank said. Krissy Heishman uses hers instead of a key card at work. “It’s just like a little glass bead about the size of a tiny grain of rice,” Heishman said. They are among the growing number of people implanting technology under their skin. “We need to get rid of the accessories. We don’t want to carry devices; we want the devices built into us,” said Zoltan Istvan, who belongs to the Transhumanist Party.

The movement seeks to radically improve humans though digital implants, even genetic manipulation. But instead of a doctor’s office, many people are turning to tattoo and piercing shops to get their implanted devices. Ryan Mills, of Skin Art Gallery, said, “We’re doing the procedure start to finish just like we would do an earring, a nose ring, a belly button ring. It’s just a little piece of glass.” The online company, Dangerous Things, sells the device and injection kit for $57. But their not alone, a San Francisco company is developing tiny implantable digital tattoos. They will authenticate credit cards, track your location, even collect health data. But the next big thing does present an age-old tech problem. “I have the older chip now. I need to get the upgrade,” Zoltan said. Constantly being forced to upgrade implanted technology can be a pain in more than just the pocketbook. These devices do come with other risks. In addition to infection, implantable tech raises some privacy and hacking concerns.

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