Wisconsin company holds 'chip party' to microchip workers

Wisconsin company holds 'chip party' to microchip workers
Tony Danna, left, vice president of international development at Three Square Market in River Falls, Wis., receives a microchip in his left hand at company headquarters Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. The company is making microchips available to its employees, allowing them to open doors, log onto their computers or buy breakroom snacks by simply waving their hand. (AP Photos/Jeff Baenen)

A brief sting is all employees of a Wisconsin technology company said they felt Tuesday when they received a microchip implant in their hand that will allow them to open doors, log onto computers or buy breakroom snacks by simply waving their hand.

Three Square Market, also known as 32M, said 41 of its 85 employees agreed to be voluntarily microchipped during a "chip party" at headquarters in River Falls.

Melissa Timmins, vice president of sales at 32M, said she was initially apprehensive but decided to give the chip a chance.

"I planned for the worst and it wasn't bad at all," said Timmins, who received a microchip in her left hand on Monday. "Just a little prick."

But marketing executive Katie Langer passed, citing health concerns related to putting a foreign object into her , while noting the chip received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004.

"But that's still not very long term in my book, so I'd just like to know more about the long-term health effects," Langer said, adding that she is not ruling out a future implant of the $300 microchip paid for by Three Square Market .

Company leaders said this is the first U.S. appearance of technology already available in Europe.

Officials said the data in the is encrypted and does not use GPS, so it cannot be used to track employees or obtain private information. The company hopes the microchips eventually can be used on everything from air travel to public transit and storing medical information.

Wisconsin company holds 'chip party' to microchip workers
A microchip is shown compared with a dime Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, at Three Square Market in River Falls, Wis., where the company is holding a 'chip party' for employees who volunteer to have the microchip embedded in their hand. The company says the microchip will allow workers to open doors, log onto their computers or buy break room snacks by simply waving their hand. (AP Photo/Jeff Baenen)

Professor Jeremy Hajek of the Illinois Institute of Technology said microchipping started years ago with veterinarians implanting the device in dogs and cats that might get lost.

"And so there's a little bit of a... demeaning factor that this is what they do to little animals," Hajek said.

But Noelle Chesley, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said she thinks implanting microchips into employees—and all people—is the wave of the future.

Many of those at the edge of developing those technologies "believe we are going to be combining in our bodies," Chesley said.

Wisconsin company holds 'chip party' to microchip workers
Tony Danna, left, vice president of international development at Three Square Market in River Falls, Wis., reacts while getting a microchip implanted in his left hand at company headquarters on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. The company is making microchips available to its employees, allowing them to open doors, log onto their computers or buy break room snacks by simply waving their hand. (AP Photos/Jeff Baenen)

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