A Swedish train company is letting passengers use microchip implants in their hands to pay for train journeys instead of paper tickets The NY Post reported.
Rail operator SJ claims that up to 100 customers are already the system to board trains, using a tiny flash memory drive surgically embedded under their skin.
To use the service, passengers on the government-run network have to already have a microchip implant, as SJ doesn’t sell the futuristic technology to its customers.
Up to 20,000 people in Sweden already have microchips implanted in their hands – mainly for use at work instead of a plastic ID card to open doors, use printers and pay for food.
SJ Press Officer, Stephen Ray, told Sun Online that the idea was put forward by a tech company in Stockholm called Epicenter, whose staff already have the chips installed and thought it would be convenient to use them for train travel as well.
The ticketing system uses the same NFC – or Near Field Communication – technology as Oyster or Contactless Cards.
Ray admitted that the project hasn’t been without its teething troubles or privacy concerns though.
One early flaw in the system meant that while using their company smartphones to validate a customer’s microchip, rail staff would sometimes be shown a passenger’s LinkedIn profile instead of their SJ ticket info.
Apparently, some customers had also programmed their microchips to give out a “digital business card” in the form of their LinkedIn profile when scanned by an NFC-enabled smartphone, and this was being sent to the conductor’s phone instead of the customer’s train ticket details.
Ray said that the problem was quickly solved though, adding, “that’s why we call it a trial.”
Peter Dahlqvist, head of business sales at SJ said: “SJ is already one of Sweden’s most digital companies so this new project could be started up very quickly.”
“The microchip ticket is a good example of how we are happy to try out new ideas alongside customers and help to force the pace of digital development.”
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