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They'll be able to pay for snacks at the office with a microchip in their hand.

Jess McHugh
July 24, 2017

A Wisconsin company is the first in the country to outfit its employees with microchips.

Employees will be able to log in to their computers, open doors, and pay for snacks with the chip, The Independent reported.

The company, a vending machine software group called Three Square Market, is not requiring anyone to participate. About 50 employees have elected to have a grain-of-rice-sized microchip inserted between their thumb and forefinger, and Three Square Market will pay for the $300 insertion fee. Leadership from the company say this is just the beginning.

“Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc,” said Todd Westby, the company’s chief executive, in a statement.

The microchips use near-field communications (NFC) and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. The former is the software that allows people to purchase items by holding their credit cards near a payment machine. The latter is a tracking software, though leadership from the company insists that they are not monitoring their employees’ location.

The company will be hosting a "chip party" next week for all of the employees who opted in, a representative from Three Square Market told Travel + Leisure.

While Three Square Market might be the first in the U.S. to outfit its employees with microchips, Swedish start-up hub Epicenter has been offering the option to its employees since 2015, the Associated Press& reported. By April 2017, about 150 employees had them and can use them to open doors and operate printers, among other daily tasks.

“The biggest benefit, I think, is convenience,” said Patrick Mesterton, co-founder and chief executive of Epicenter. “It basically replaces a lot of things you have, other communication devices, whether it be credit cards or keys.”

The health effects of microchips in humans are not fully understood. The FDA approved the use of microchips in humans in 2005, but some studies have questioned just how safe they are. One study in rats and mice in the mid-1990s indicated that the presence of a microchip could lead to malignant tumors, AP reported in 2007.

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