US Company Is Putting Microchips in Its Employees

02 August, 2017

Technology offers conveniences such as opening the garage door from your car or changing the television station without touching the TV.

Now one American company is offering its employees a new convenience: a microchip implanted in their hands. Employees who have these chips can do all kinds of things just by waving their hands.

Three Square Market is offering to implant microchips in all of their employees for free. Each chip costs $300 and Three Square Market will pay for the chip.

Employees can volunteer to have the chips implanted in their hands. About 50 out of 80 employees have chosen to do so. The president of the company, his wife and their children are also getting chips implanted in their hands.

The chip is about the size of a grain of rice. Implanting the chip only takes about a second and is said to hurt only very briefly. The chips go under the skin between the thumb and forefinger.

A microchip is shown compared with a dime, Aug. 1, 2017, at Three Square Market in River Falls, Wis., where the company held a
A microchip is shown compared with a dime, Aug. 1, 2017, at Three Square Market in River Falls, Wis., where the company held a "chip party" for employees who volunteered to have the microchip embedded in their hands.

With a chip in the hand, a person can enter the office building, buy food, sign into computers and more, simply by waving that hand near a scanner. The chips also will be used to identify employees.

Employees who want convenience, but do not want to have a microchip implanted under their skin, can wear a wristband or a ring with a chip instead. They can perform the same tasks with a wave of their hands as if they had an implanted chip.

Three Square Market is the first company in the United States to offer to implant chips in its employees. Epicenter, a company in Sweden, has been implanting chips in its employees for a while.

Three Square Marketing says the chip cannot track the employee. The company says scanners can read the chips only when they are within a few inches of them.

Three Square Market says that the chips protect against identity theft by being encrypted, similar to credit cards. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the chips back in 2004, so they should be safe for humans, according to the company.

In the future, people with the chips may be able to do more with them, even outside the office.

Todd Westby is Chief Executive Officer of Three Square Market. He says, "Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc."


Would you volunteer to have a chip implanted in your hand by your employer? Vote in the poll and let us know what you think.

I'm Caty Weaver.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr wrote this report for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Do you think having a chip implanted in your hand would be convenient? Would you volunteer to have the chip implanted in your hand? Would you work for a company that required you to have a chip implanted in your hand?

Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below or on 51VOA.COM.


Words in This Story

convenience - n. a quality or situation that makes something easy or useful for someone by reducing the amount of work or time required to do something

garage - n. a building or part of a building in which a car, truck, etc., is kept

microchip - n. a group of tiny electronic circuits that work together on a very small piece of hard material (such as silicon)

implant - v. to place something in a person's body by means of surgery

volunteer - v. someone who does something without being forced to do it

scanner - n. a device that reads or copies information or images into a computer

identify - v. to find out who someone is or what something is

wristband - n. a band of plastic, paper, cloth, etc., that you wear around your wrist

track - v. to follow or watch the path of (something)

identity theft - n. the illegal use of someone else's personal identifying information in order to get money or credit

encrypt - v. to change (information) from one form to another especially to hide its meaning

standardize - v. to change (things) so that they are similar and consistent and agree with rules about what is proper and acceptable