In recent months much has been said in the news regarding Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology. School children have been told they are required to wear them and there is talk about mandatory chipping as a condition of treatment in the Obamacare bill.
There is however, a newer kid on the block that takes the technology of tracking individuals to a whole new level. The Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) has been working for a considerable time on developing transient electronics. Small, hair fine, bio-gradable electronic devices that can be implanted into humans and will disappear at a time that has been programmed into the chip prior to its implantation.
Transient electronics came to the fore last year when Tufts School of Engineering went public with the news that they had developed the first working, implantable chip. DARPA immediately saw the military implications of such a device. Their interest is understandable. Being able to implant military personnel with such a device would allow you to monitor where an individual is at any given time, and they would also have the ability to trigger the chip to dissolve if a situation was reached where the unit, either the chip itself or the person it was implanted in, became useless.
So interested are they in the technology that tomorrow, February 14th 2013, they are inviting scientists and manufacturers to come together on what they have called “VAPR DAY” Vanishing Programable Resources Day. Officially the purpose of tomorrows event is to ‘facilitate interactions’ between scientists and manufacturers and to discuss developments in the field of Transient Electronics. It’s sure to be very well attended, if there’s money to be made from the government for fast-tracking such technology those more interested in money that freedom will be willing to sell their soul to the devil to get into the event.
The ramifications for the development of such technology is truly frightening. Those in favor cite the ability for a patient to carry all their medical information around with them cutting down on iatrogenic (doctor caused) deaths due to wrong prescribing of medications for example. It has even been suggested that implanting children would enable them to be traced should they become lost or be abducted.
Tufts have already tested the technology in the lab and are assumed to be presenting their findings tomorrow.The testing was in areas such as wound healing, temperature sensors, solar cells and a 64 pixel digital camera, though what most of those applications could be used for inside the human body is anyone’s guess.
Unlike ordinary electronics, which are built to last, transient electronics are not. These small devices are designed to fade away, to dissolve at a pre-set rate leaving no trace in the body. The basis of how they work is not hard to understand. There are also much,much smaller and lighter than RFID chips.
Silicon, a major component of the devices melts in water anyway, if thin enough, like the nanomembranes used in transient electronics there would be no trace of them within a couple of weeks. To control the speed of the melt scientists use silk which is dissolved and then reformed and it is this alteration of the silk that coats the silicon that enables the melt time to be controlled.
” Transient electronics offer a robust performance comparable to current devices but they will fully resorb into their environment at a prescribed time ranging from minutes to years” Said Professor Fiorenzo Omenetto the lead developer of the technology.
According to the professor one possible use will be to control wound infection and the devices have been tested on rats, being placed in the wound immediately prior to closure. The chips were heated to a temperature that inhibits the growth of bugs leading to less infection.
John Rogers a mechanical science and engineering professor at the University of Illinois, the man credited with the invention of ‘smart fingers’ for use by surgeons said other uses were bound to be found for transient electronics such as computer components and mobile phones. He sees distinct advantages to the environment if cell phones just dissolve away when no longer required rather than going to landfill. Landfill…we have a new technology that can be used in cell phones, computers and people and he is concerned abut overuse of landfill sites?
The DARPA website does not reveal where the mentioned event is taking place, it invites interested parties to get in touch with its management contact centre. This technology has implications for each and every one of us. The implantable chips are very small and very thin, they are predominantly transparent and DARPA admit that:
“…it’s likely to be impossible for them to be found” after implantation.
There is no reason why this technology could not be implanted at birth enabling the government to track individuals for their entire lives. It could be put into computers, and telecommunications equipment. How long before those on no-fly lists can be picked up at any airport on the planet without an official even picking up a phone or sending an email? How long before you can be prevented from receiving medical care because your chip dictates that you shouldn’t be smoking, or having a beer, or eating a burger that might make you obese?
The possibilities of this technology are quite literally endless, transient electronic chips can contain any information, or disinformation that the programmer choses to put on the chip. You can bet your bottom collar that individuals will have no say in the information that the chip contains, and its odds-on that mistakes will be made, and not all of them will be accidental.
Transient electronics has the potential to truly curtail the freedom of entire populations. The technology to track devices is not new. It will only take updating to allow many computers set to different parameters to check and follow large numbers of people, flagging violations up to their human overseers. DARPA themselves use the word “triggered”and this by definition means that actions imposed by someone other that the implantee can have an effect on the chip.
We would be foolish to think that this technology will be used purely for our good and on the battlefield., it won’t. It offers too good a chance for those in power to miss. It offers the chance to control and manipulate the masses in a way that’s only limited by the ingenuity of the programmer.