Country tests ID chips for body implants

According to a report, the Malaysian government is testing 10-cent ID chips that can be embedded into currency, bullets and even inside human bodies.

The Malaysian government has bought the rights to tiny chips that can embed IDs into currency notes, bullets, passports and even inside human bodies, reported Malaysian daily The Star.

The government has acquired intellectual property rights to the chip--now dubbed the Malaysian Microchip (MM)--from Japanese research and development company FEC, which designed it.

The chip can replace barcode tags in retail goods, and can be inserted into the human body, animals, bullets, credit cards and other items for verification purposes, said the report.

The made-in-Malaysia microchip measuring 0.5 mm X 0.5 mm--the size of a decimal point--uses the radio frequency identification (RFID) chip technology, and costs 10 cents (0.38 ringgit) each to produce.

A platform for the application of the chip’s underlying technology is currently being set up and is scheduled to be completed before the end of the year.

The microchip would be manufactured in Japan early next year but production would eventually move to a factory in Malaysia's northern Kedah state belonging to state-owned wafer fabrication firm Silterra (M) Sdn. Bhd, the country's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in the report.

The MM is a multiband RFID chip, which means that it would also be usable in the United States and Europe, which have adopted a different RFID frequency standard from that in Japan, FEC officials said in the report.

Japanese firms are in the forefront of RFID technology. Hitachi, for example, is rumored to be developing a speck-sized radio chip to be embedded into Euro currency notes as a security measure. At a recent Japan trade show, a demonstration of RFID technology allows retailers to track the movements of a consumer in a bookstore.