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Brief Published: 16 Oct 2017

Microchip Train Tickets


Swedish train operator SJ is offering passengers the option of using a biometric chip implanted in their hands or wrists as an alternative to paper tickets.

Applicable to the 2,000 Swedes who already have an implanted chip (most of whom work in the tech industry), the system will work via near-field communication (NFC) technology in the same way as contactless bank cards and Apple Pay. Users purchase tickets online, with the ticket reference number linking to their chip. The microchips are also linked via an app on the user's smartphone.

The scheme was inspired by Stockholm digital innovation accelerator Epicentre, which introduced microchip implants to replace swipe cards for gaining access to its premises. SJ was also influenced by Wisconsin digital vending company Three Square Market, which recently employed Swedish tech company Biohax to create embedded microchips for tasks such as buying snacks.

For another recent example of bio-embedded technology used to track everything from hydration levels to brain function, see the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's health-tracking tattoo, covered in Smart Sustenance. For more on the new tech-boosted commute, see Tomorrow's Wandering Workers and The Empowered Customer Journey.