Technology

Always losing your Oyster card? Why not have it implanted into your hand?

Maybe don't try this one at home.

As the more absent-minded of city-dwellers know, there’s nothing more irritating than losing your travel card – whether it’s your bus pass, Oyster card for Londoners or Opal card if you live in Sydney.

Well, one Sydney man has come up with a solution of some sorts. According to ABC, bio-hacker Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow has had his Opal card inserted into his hand. (FYI: that apparently is his legal name. Try saying it a few times quickly…)

The process really is as grisly as it sounds – the device took an hour to implant into Meow-Meow’s had by a piercing expert.

Luckily, it’s not like Meow-Meow had an entire plastic card inserted into his hand. Instead, the near-field communication (NFC) chip that lets you tap through barriers on public transport was cut down and encased in bio-compatible plastic. As such, the whole thing measures 10mm by 6mm (which admittedly still feels like a lot to put into your hand).

Meow-Meow told ABC: “It gives me an ability that not everyone else has, so if someone stole my wallet I could still get home.” The logic is definitely there, but it remains to be seen whether people will be rushing to do this themselves any time soon.

Posted by Meow-Ludo Meow Meow – Science Party Candidate for Grayndler on Saturday, April 23, 2016

The process isn’t yet perfected, as even though Meow-Meow can use his Opal like everyone else, his hand has to be closer to the reader than traditional cards and sometimes he has to tap it a few times as the device has a smaller antenna.

Perhaps the worst news is Meow-Meow says what he’s done is technically a breach of Opal’s terms of service as he’s tampered with the device.

But that’s not slowing him down, and he says: “My goal is to have frictionless interaction with technology.” He argues that putting technology in our bodies is not unusual (citing pacemakers and IUDs), but this is just the equivalent for public transport.

Posted by Meow-Ludo Meow Meow – Science Party Candidate for Grayndler on Thursday, May 4, 2017

Last year Meow-Meow was the Science Party’s candidate in the federal election for the seat of Grayndler. He’s a “passionate molecular biologist, entrepreneur, and futurist”, according to the Science Party website, who “believes that the major challenges facing the world currently are solvable through scientific research combined with technological action”.

Maybe this implant is another step towards achieving this. Let’s just hope his pass doesn’t get deactivated.

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Technology