SCI/TECH: "Clubbing with Orwell"
Clubbers in Spain are choosing to receive a microchip implant instead of carrying a membership card.
It is the latest and perhaps the most unlikely of uses for implantable radio frequency ID chips.
The Baja Beach Club in Barcelona offers people signing up for VIP membership a choice between an RFID chip and a normal card. VIP members can jump the entrance queues, reserve a table and use the nightclub's VIP lounge.
"The RFID chip is not compulsory," says Conrad Chase, managing director of the club. But he says there are advantages to having it.
The obvious one is that you do not have to carry a membership card around with you, but also it means you can leave your wallet at home. This is because the RFID can be used as an in-house debit card, says Chase.
When drinks are ordered the RFID is scanned with a handheld device and the cost is added to your bill. The chips, called VeriChips, are produced by US company Applied Digital Solutions.
Read more science news in the June 2004 issue of "Arte Six".