This story appeared in Infobeat News-Afternoon Edition, 8/25/98
Cybernetics professor claims to receive 1st chip transplant
Professor Kevin Warwick claimed Tuesday to be the first person in the world to have a computer
chip surgically implanted into his body. Professor Warwick told a press conference that a glass
capsule about 23 millimeters long and 3 millimeters wide containing an electromagnetic coil and
a silicon chip was inserted into his arm Monday. "It is a research experiment. I don't know how
long we will leave the implant in but it's looking at what's possible now in terms of
communicating between a computer and myself," Warwick said. In demonstrating the chip, a
computer greeted him as he walked in a room.
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So, without further ado:
11:29 AM ET 08/25/98
RCybernetics professor claims to receive first chip transplant
By Neil Winton, Science and Technology Correspondent
READING, England, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Professor Kevin Warwick
claimed on Tuesday to be the first person in the world to have a
computer chip surgically implanted into his body.
Professor Warwick told a press conference that a glass
capsule about 23 millimetes long and 3 millimetres wide
containing an electromagnetic coil and a silicon chip was
inserted into his arm on Monday.
``It is a research experiment. I don't know how long we will
leave the implant in but it's looking at what's possible now in
terms of communicating between a computer and myself,'' Warwick
told a press conference.
Warwick is head of the Cybernetics Department at the
University of Reading. He demonstrated the chip in action by
walking through the front door of his department.
``Good morning Professor Warwick. You have five new E
mails,'' said a computerised voice activated by the inserted
The human as computer had many applications, but also
dangers, Warwick said.
``Possibilities could be that anyone who wanted access to a
gun could do so only if they had one of these implants. Then if
they actually try and enter a school or building that doesn't
want them in there, the school computer would sound alarms and
warn people inside or even prevent them having access,'' Warwick
said in an interview.
``The same could be true at work where employees could be
tracked in and out of the building to see when they are there.''
``This is a technolgoy where there are big positives but
there are also big negatives. Do we want to hand over control to
machinery or to have buildings telling us what we can do or
``I'm really looking at what's technically possible. I'm
excited about the future prospects, particularly the human body
communicating and interacting with a computer. There are a lot
of exciting possibilities.''
Warwick said the chip was implanted by his own doctor, who
advised him to have it removed within 10 days.
There was a danger of infection, although Warwick was taking
Reading University said in a statement that this was the
first chip to be surgically inserted into a human.
``It is therefore not known what effects it will have, how
well it will operate and how robust it will be. Professor
Warwick is therefore taking an enormous risk - for the
transponder to leak or shatter within his body could be
catastrophic,'' the statement said.
Warwick shrugged off the dangers.
``It doesn't hurt any. I took some Nurofen just before the
operation. It feels uncomfortable; it feels as though there's
something in my arm, but it doesn't feEl unpleasant.''
``Cybernetics is all about humans and technology
interacting. For a Professor of Cybernetics to be come a true
Cyborg - part man part machine - is therefore rather
appropriate,'' Warwick said.