Across the globe, there is a small community of so-called Do-It-Yourself Chippers. They have implanted themselves with a personally programmed RFID chip that gives them access to their digital devices, but also possibly to their car, homes and other places relevant to them.
Sandra Wagemakers, a PhD student at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, conducted a small study for us about the meanings of such chips for implantees; she also compared the RFID chippers with deaf people who have a hearing implant. Interestingly, she found that for some DIY chippers the implants functions to make them feel special human beings, whereas the hearing implants help deaf people to feel like ‘ normal’ human beings. There are more interesting outcomes of the study, but the main conclusion is that technologies acquire different meanings through their everyday usage.