injectable ID chip (biochip transponder)

An injectable ID chip, also called a biochip transponder, is an electronic device that is inserted under the skin of an animal to provide the animal with a unique identification number. Injectable ID chips, which are less painful, faster to implement, and more cost-effective than ear-tags, brands, or tattoos, have been used to identify livestock animals such as pigs, sheep, cows, and horses for over a decade.

The "chip", which uses passive RFID technology, is really a tissue-compatible glass tube that contains a silicon computer chip laser-etched with a unique alphanumeric identification code, an antenna, and a capacitor. Once inserted under an animal's skin (the chip comes pre-packaged in a sterilized, disposable syringe), it remains inactive until read by a compatible scanner. The scanner works by sending a low frequency radio signal to "wake up" the chip and provide the chip with the power it needs to send its unique identification code back to the scanner. The alphanumeric code read by the scanner is then compared to other codes in the database in order to positively identify the animal.

A prototype for the biochip transponder was first introduced in 1979 by California inventor Mike Beigel. By 1991, zoos around the world began microchipping their animals and the Congress of International Trade Endangered Species, which has more than 100 member countries, endorsed using implantable ID chips for endangered species. By the year 2,000 several U.S. cities included microchipping as part of their mandatory pet licenses.

Applied Digital Solutions manufactures an injectable ID chip for humans called VeriChip.

This was last updated in September 2005

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