Artist Embeds RFID Chip in His Hand to Spread GIF Art

"Think of it as a changeable, digital net art tattoo."
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Anthony Antonellis marked another milestone for the body-hacking movement, implanting an RFID chip encased in glass into his hand. The tiny chip can transmit an animated GIF that he's stored in it through a tiny antenna. He can swap out the image it carries and transmits, but here's what he's currently got in the one kilobyte of memory his implant stores:

"Think of it as a changeable, digital net art tattoo," he told Animal New York.

Antonellis joins a long line of people who've implanted electronics into their bodies. University of Reading professor Kevin Warwick might be the most famous person to implant an RFID chip into himself, which he did in 1998. Warwick was motivated not by art, but by his desire to explore what it meant to live as a cyborg.

If you want to learn more, you can see what Grindhouse Wetware is up to. They've been working on projects like Bottlenose, which transmits information about a room to a special magnet implanted in the finger. Pittsburgh coder Tim Cannon put it like this. "You can just sweep it over a room and get an idea for the contours of the room with your eyes closed," Cannon told Slate. "It's kind of like a sonar sense."

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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