RFID is a technology which is probably familiar to most librarians as a way of managing the books in our collections. However, a New Zealand geocacher named Kylie has come up with a novel use for RFID. She has had an RFID microchip (the same type used to identify pets) implanted into her hand, and it can be read by an NFC (Near Field Communication)-capable smartphone. So how does this relate to geocaching? Well, many geocachers create trackable items which can be moved from cache to cache – these travellers are called Travel Bugs (or TBs), and they have a unique tracking number on their TB dogtag. By implanting the RFID tag under her skin, Kylie has made herself into a TB and joined a list of about 200 trackable humans. Everyone else on the list has a tattoo as their TB tracking number, so Kylie’s tag is unique.
We’ve created our own TBs during the time we’ve been caching, but I don’t think I’m ready to go down the body modification route and turn myself into a TB. At least you wouldn’t have to worry about your Travel Bug going missing, which is what has happened to ours.
You can read about Kylie’s experience on her blog Its Not About the Numbers, as well as hear discussion about what she’s done on episode 470.1 (one of their short mid-week micro episodes) of the Podcacher podcast.