Epicenter, a Stockholm-based startup, unveiled a new way of carrying around a COVID vaccine passport – in a microchip implanted under your skin.
The implant can be read by any device using the near-field communication (NFC) protocol – technology used for contactless payments and keyless entry systems.
In a video shared by Epicenter, Hannes Sjöblad, chief distribution officer, has the chip in his arm and simply waves a smartphone over it to pull up his vaccination status.
Many venues, restaurants, bars, concert halls and museums, across the US are requiring visitors present their vaccination status in order to enter the building.
And Epicenter wants to make presenting this information as easy as possible.
'In case your phone runs out of battery, it's always accessible to you. So of course, that's how we use this technology today, next year we are going to use it for something else,' said Sjoblad.
The microchip sits directly beneath the skin, either in the arm or between the thumb and forefinger.
According to Sjöblad, the procedure is 'completely reversible' and does not require a special phone app.
Epicenter's implanted microchip is not a new innovation, as the company has been using it for years – and with its own employees.
In 2015, the company announced it had implanted the microchip in more than 100 of its employees, which allows them to open doors, operate printers, or buy smoothies with a wave of the hand.
The chip is implanted with a simple injection of a syringe and with a click, a microchip is injected in the employee's hand.
When activated by a reader a few inches away, a small amount of data flows between the two devices via electromagnetic waves.
And although the microchip passports are not yet ready for market, it is safe to assume that is how they will be implanted.
Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and CEO of Epicenter, said in a 2017 statement: 'The biggest benefit I think is convenience.
'It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.'