Unlike most cars on the market, Tesla doesn’t have a traditional key to unlock and start the car. Tesla gives owners a few different ways to start their car: There is a fob, you can start with your smartphone, or you can use a keycard.
Now, some might say that Tesla included all these options for maximum convenience. Elon and Co. made it almost impossible to be unable to start your car. But for Tesla owner and software engineer Amie DD, she wanted something more. She wanted to be able to start her Model 3 with a chip implanted in her arm.
Never Lose Your Keys Again
In a video explaining the process, Amie says that she got an RFID implant in her hand to open the door in her house and send her smartphone browser to her website. After preordering the Model 3, she learned that Tesla’s valet cards also use RFID chip technology. She initially wanted to transfer the Tesla card code to her current chip, but couldn’t figure out a way to hack it. So she decided to take the Tesla valet card chip and implant that in her arm.
Her first step was to dissolve the card in acetone to get the chip out. Then she encased the chip in a biopolymer to ensure that it was safe to insert into her arm. She took that to a body modification studio where they installed the chip into her arm. Now, her forearm doubles as a Tesla Model 3 key.
While the video doesn’t have the payoff of Amie using the chip, she tweeted that the chip does indeed work.
Why didn’t I post a video of the chip working with my car the day I got it? 1. I was at @defcon this weekend! 2. My arm was swollen right after(none of my other chip implants read the first few days). I may have upgrades but unfortunately my body still heals at a human rate lol! pic.twitter.com/WKHogGKqmE
— Amie DD @ DEFCON (@amiedoubleD) August 13, 2019
The New Wave of Body Modification
Biohacking and implant technology is something that has been around for a while now and there are plenty of examples of it in practice. Voluntary chip implants like Amie’s Tesla chip is a practice that is gaining popularity, relatively. They will probably be all the rage a few years from now. But here, in the present, there’s still something slightly punk about them. They’re like tattoos back when the only people who had tattoos were sailors and getting one included contracting hepatitis from dirty needles.
People still look at voluntary chips as a strange practice, indeed one that should be up for regulation. Out in Nevada, Skip Daley, a Democrat in the Nevada State Assembly, proposed a bill banning voluntary and involuntary microchipping. After criticism, he rewrote the bill to exempt implants for self-expression or medical purposes. The episode, though, illustrates the long road ahead for the microchipping and biohacking community, and how society reacts and deals with new practices such as this.