Real-Life Avengers’ Tony Stark Had Computer Chips Implanted In His Hands

A 29-year-old engineer is drawing comparisons to Marvel's Tony Stark after doing several microchip implants in his body. Ben Workman has RFID and NFC chips implanted in his hands, a Tesla key in his right hand (which he uses for his car) and a magnet in his left (which an ABC News profile on Workman says he uses primarily for entertainment purposes). The profile describes the RFID and NFC chips as replacing "some functionality of a smartphone." Examples are things like using the touch of a hand to copy contact information from someone's phone to his contacts, and manipulating Wi-Fi settings.

The process is not entirely painless -- the implantation itself, he says, involves a brief, burning pain -- but it's similar to the microchips inserted into pets to find them if they go missing. As a programmer himself, Workman is able to write code for the implants. He can also use the chips to do any number of simple tasks that other RFID devices or smartphones can do with a more metaphorical wave of a hand, like controlling lights and swiping him into the card reader at his place of employment.

He explained that the RFID, NFC and magnet were inserted just under his skin using a syringe and medical equipment. He recruited his cousin, a phlebotomist, to help him with his first two implants after struggling to find a doctor, veterinarian, or tattoo parlor who would help him with the request.

The Tesla key was a bit larger, and the procedure was "more involved," the story reports.

"I had to send the valet key to a company called Dangerous Things. They take the key, dissolve it in acetate, reshape it and then put a medical polymer on it."

The incision made into his knuckle to make it work was 5 mm wide, and took time to heal, but since he has been on top of things, he has had no infections or other complications from the operations. He said that part of the inspiration behind the decision was to avoid the privacy issues tied to storing so much information on smartphones.

"Steal the phone and you unlock the keys to the kingdom," Workman said. "To have a phone stolen is a very big deal. Implementation technology is very hard to steal."

It would, at least in theory, be possible to clone the data on his chips, but the person trying it would have to be extremely (noticeably) close to the chips and also would have to be aware of his implants in the first place. In terms of safety and other day to day complications, the biggest concern would be if he needed an MRI (the magnet would need to be removed). TSA scanners aren't bothered by the chips, although they are visible via x-ray.

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So...I guess...this "Tony Stark" should steer clear of Superman?

The next (untitled) Spider-Man movie from Marvel and Sony is expected to hit theaters on July 16, 2021. First, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow will finally get her own solo movie, due out May 1, 2020. Other upcoming Marvel Studios projects include The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in Fall of 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in Spring 2021, Loki in Spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If…? In Summer 2021, Hawkeye in Fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.

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