Public transit can be a nightmare. Endless amounts of people and fumbling with your transit card are pretty much unavoidable, and that’s before you even get on that crowded train.
Meow-Meow uses the Opal card — the equivalent of London’s Oyster card — to get on public transit in Sydney. Instead of remembering to bring the physical card with him every day, Meow-Meow decided to get a little bit creative. He had the chip from his card professionally implanted beneath the skin in his left hand.
The near-field communication (NFC) chip was encased in a bio-compatible plastic and placed in his hand by a professional piercer. NFC uses electromagnetic radio fields to connect two objects in close proximity. To use it, Meow-Meow’s hand has to be within one centimeter of the reader in order for his chip to scan. This is closer than actual cards need to be held, due to the smaller antennae of his chip. It’s not perfect; sometimes he has to make multiple attempts before his personal chip is read by the machine.
But for the ease of having your card with you all the time, this is a pretty small inconvenience to endure.
ABC News Australia spoke to Meow-Meow about his new chip.
“My goal is to have frictionless interaction with technology,” said Meow-Meow. “It gives me an ability that not everyone else has, so if someone stole my wallet I could still get home.”
The Australian biohacker also noted that technology in our bodies isn’t really that wild of a concept, as we already rely on things like pacemakers and birth control devices. He thinks we will start to see the intersections of our bodies and technology much more in the future.
Meow-Meow has actually been in the headlines for over a year now. He ran for the Science Party in the 2016 Australian federal election.
While he didn’t win, Meow-Meow was certainly a crowd charmer.
Candidate for Grayndler, Science Party, Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow. Perhaps the best candidate name in history. Onya Meow Meow-Meow!
— Dave Cox (@coxy1969) July 3, 2016
And Meow-Meow’s future Opal card biohack becomes much less surprising when you see his election platform.
“Meow is a passionate molecular biologist, entrepreneur, and futurist. He believes that the major challenges facing the world currently are solvable through scientific research combined with technological action,” the Science Party noted. “He is heavily involved in the democratisation of science through his work in co-creating a network of internationally connected biohackers and physical community laboratories.”
Later in 2016, Meow noted his desire to give anyone born after 1950 the ability to live as immortally as possible.
“Live forever, or die trying. Personally my goal is to achieve escape velocity – that is to increase life expectancy by more than a year per year,” Meow-Meow told ABC News last October. “Once you can get to that you are functionally immortal.”
By the looks of it, this is just the start to what Meow-Meow is up to. With Meow-Meow at work, maybe we’ll all be walking technology before we know it.