RFID Chips for VIPs
By David Pescovitz, Fri May 21 21:00:00 GMT 2004

Forget hand stamps. Club kids who want VIP status at a Barcelona nightspot can be implanted with an RFID tag.

Club kids who want VIP status at the popular Baja Beach Club in Barcelona can now get implanted with a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag. For 25 euro, customers can have an Applied Digital Solutions VeriChip, the size of a grain of rice, injected into his or her upper arm.

Chipped club-goers receive the same privileges as VIP members who hold more traditional ID cards: no-queue entry, reserved tables, and entrance to the VIP lounge. The big benefit of RFID is that you can use it as an in-house debit "card" for buying drinks. The bartender simply pings you with a handheld scanner. When an RFID tag is hit with a low-power radio signal, it responds by transmitting a unique identification code.

The implantable chips were originally marketed as an identification system for pets. RFID technology is also used to track shipped goods, retail inventory, hospital supplies, and, er, humans.

According to a New Scientist report about the Baja Beach Club program, "so far only nine people have been implanted since the scheme started in March. (Club director Conrad) Chase says this is because you cannot implant people who agree to it... when they might be drunk."

More information is available in this Spanish language interview with Chase on the club's Web site.