BBC News

Thursday, 7 March, 2002, 12:19 GMT
Chips to keep family healthy

The family that gets chipped together, stays together
A US family has come up with a novel way of tightening family ties, by getting computer chip implants.

While other families shop or eat together, the Jacobs intend to have computer chips put under their skin, the first family to attempt such a thing.

The VeriChips have been developed by a Florida technology company, Applied Digital Solutions, and are intended, initially, for medical purposes.

Chip would be implanted under the skin

Father Jeff has had cancer and is now on 10 different types of medication. His wife Leslie believes the implant will give the family peace of mind.

"The chip will be able to speak for him if he isn't able to and will immediately tell doctors his medical history," she told the BBC programme Go Digital.

The idea to get the implants came from the Jacobs' 12-year-old son Derek, who is computer-mad and the youngest person ever to have become a certified Microsoft systems technologist.

Let's get chipped

He saw an item about the chips on TV and announced he wanted to be the first child to have one.
"He was so intrigued by the technology," said Mrs Jacobs.

"He nagged us to call the company and because his whole life is computers and technology we listened to him."

Imagine if each individual had his or her medical information safe and secure within their own bodies

Keith Bolton, Applied Digital Solutions

The VeriChip is about the size of a grain of rice and is implanted under the skin.

A scanner would be needed by hospitals and other medics to read the information on the chip, which would include the patient's name, contact details and medical history.

Before the family can become chipped, Applied Digital Solutions has to obtain US Government approval from the Food and Drugs Administration, (FDA), a process which could take a long time.

Potential life-saver

Until then, the firm is looking to market the chips in South and Central America where FDA rules do not apply.

Chief technology officer Keith Bolton is confident that the implants can be a life-saving device.

"Imagine if each individual had his or her medical information safe and secure within their own bodies," he said.

"It is one big advancement for mankind."