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'Digital Angel' not pursuing implants

Posted By Julie Foster On 06/16/2001 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled

Digital Angel? is no longer pursuing implant technology for humans, a spokesman for the company said yesterday.

Dr. Lawrence Webber of Digital Angel Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions, told WorldNetDaily the company has “no plan at this time for implant technology.” Rather, the company’s patented sensor technology is being used in externally worn devices only, such as watches and pagers.

The company had been developing implants for humans that would monitor a wearer’s location, pulse, blood-oxygen level and other vital bodily functions, but has instead put the tiny sensors in externally wearable devices. The company’s earlier projections of Digital Angel? also described it as an identifier for e-commerce by sending a signal from the person wearing the device to either his computer or the e-merchant with whom he is doing business to verify his identity.

Webber’s comments were prompted by WND’s Thursday story that implied Digital Angel? implants were about to be tested on humans. The story also claimed such testing was to begin yesterday. In fact, the company will begin testing its first generation of products – watches for children and adults and a pager – on selected volunteers beginning July 15. The devices contain sensors that perform monitoring tasks of the original prototype, including alerting subscribers to medical emergencies.

Digital Angel? technology requires a monitoring system and an end-user. Subscribers to the monitoring system can include medical groups and hospitals hoping to keep an eye on patients, and parents who can use the system to locate their kids. End users are those people wearing the sensor – from people to animals to inanimate objects. The various applications of the tracking and monitoring system are virtually endless, according to Applied Digital Solutions, which believes the device will tap into a $70 billion dollar market in North America alone.

Testing of the watches and pager will be conducted using individual participants selected from all pre-registered subscribers expressing interest in the technology. Testing participants will be chosen by June 30 and will be notified of their selection by July 6. The testing is expected to extend for a period of 90 days.

“While this is just the first production run, we have incorporated many of the suggestions of those who have pre-registered, resulting in the delivery of Digital Angels that are very close to final design specifications,” said Mercedes Walton, president and chief operations officer of Applied Digital Solutions.

Critics of the monitoring technology fear the development of Digital Angel? as an implant for humans, claiming the device could be a fulfillment of biblical prophecy regarding the “mark of the beast.” Others believe the device could lead to the erosion of personal liberty, particularly if government chooses to adopt the technology for various uses, such as the monitoring of military personnel and civilian identification.

Digital Angel? will be available to the general public in October.


Related stories:

Human ID implant to be unveiled soon

Digital Angel unveiled

Big Brother gets under your skin


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