Connect with us

News

Bill Making It Illegal to Forcefully Microchip Employees Passes in Michigan House

Lawmakers on Michigan have passed a bill that would make it illegal for employers to force their workers to be tagged with microchips.

Published

on

Like this article? Get the latest from The Mind Unleashed in your inbox. Sign up right here.

(TMU) – Lawmakers in Michigan have passed a bill that would make it illegal for employers to force their workers to be tagged with microchips in a bid to preemptively thwart companies who seek to make it mandatory to wear the productivity-tracking devices.

The Michigan House passed the bill on Wednesday, which would make acceptance of the microchip implants voluntary, reports WJRT.

The move comes as growing numbers of companies have explored the idea of using the sub-dermal, rice-sized Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) microchips as a substitute for time cards, ID badges, and security clearance devices.

The chips can help make it a bit easier to get into the office, log into a computer, or buy food and drinks in the cafeteria.

But they can also be used to make sure workers are hustling on the job in line with management desires to maximize efficiency.

“With the way technology has increased over the years and as it continues to grow, it’s important Michigan job providers balance the interests of the company with their employees’ expectations of privacy,” said Republican State Rep. Bronna Kahle, who sponsored the bill.

While the RFID devices haven’t come into widespread usage yet, Kahle and others believe they could become the norm in states like Michigan in the coming years.

“While these miniature devices are on the rise, so are the calls of workers to have their privacy protected,” Kahle said.

Microchips have long been the basis for a number of conspiracies that claim the government is planning to implant tracking chips in the populace, leading to a kind of scenario similar to the dystopian George Orwell novel, 1984.

However, the Michigan bill reflects long-brewing concerns over private industry using such high-tech methods – alongside a growing suite of surveillance technology at the workplace – to erode employee privacy.

RFID microchips have long been used by everyone from libraries to schools, governments, and the private sector to pinpoint and track the physical location of items where the tags are embedded.

And while RFIDs provide a cheap and convenient means to track inventory and safeguard raw materials from being misused, misplaced, or stolen, they have increasingly been used to track people and keep tabs on their activities – or inactivities – in the workplace.

And as states mull reopening and allowing workplaces to resume functions under the “new normal” of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some companies such as Engineering have touted using RFID sensors as an efficient and affordable solution to upholding physical distancing standards.

RFID technology has also been used in such high-risk locales like oil rigs, where they have been used to determine whether workers have been evacuated or how evacuation scenarios are formulated.

But experts have warned that the security of information stored on the chip could also be easily compromised, with such data including the comings and goings of employees, their daily routines outside of work, as well as who somebody wearing the chip has interacted with.

And with companies like Amazon coming under increasing criticism over its use of surveillance technology and production-tracking devices to turn its workers into “human robots” working alongside actual robots, concerns remain about the dehumanizing effects such labor-saving devices can have on workers.

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

Good News

Awesome New Infrared Goggles Could Help Blind People ‘See’ Surroundings

Published

on

Like this article? Get the latest from The Mind Unleashed in your inbox. Sign up right here.

People who are blind or deal with low vision face a unique number of challenges in their daily lives, ranging from accessing published material to holding a job or living on one’s own.

However, emerging infrared technology under research could help the blind and visually impaired navigate the world around them using a pair of innovative goggles.

In new research recently published and yet to be peer-reviewed, Manuel Zahn and Armaghan Ahmad Khan at Germany’s Technical University of Munich explored how their 3D camera and haptic feedback armband can assist people with low vision.

“Even in the present era, visually impaired people face a constant challenge of navigation,” the pair wrote. “The most common tool available to them is the cane. Although the cane allows good detection of objects in the user’s immediate vicinity, it lacks the ability to detect obstacles further away.”

The two students’ design deploys two infrared cameras placed in a 3D-printed goggles prototype to get a stereoscopic view that is transformed by a small computer into a map of the user’s surroundings. The infrared gear also works in the dark. The armband then uses 25 actuators arranged in a grid that vibrates when users come close to objects while also assisting them in their orientation. As users walk near obstacles, the vibration intensity of the actuators increases.

In tests, subjects enjoyed roughly 98 percent accuracy while getting through obstacle pathways, with all five participants completing the course in their first run. After two additional runs, the volunteers were able to navigate the obstacles more rapidly.

Zahn and Khan frequently cited Microsoft’s Kinect motion detection system for the Xbox in their study, but the pair are confident that their own setup will be far smaller, cheaper and less conspicuous than the gaming device.

The new headset could offer an interesting opportunity for blind and partially sighted people to clear the myriad obstacles they face when performing regular tasks or navigating the world around them.

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

Continue Reading

News

Toddler Goes On $2000 Furniture-Shopping Spree On Mom’s Phone

Published

on

Like this article? Get the latest from The Mind Unleashed in your inbox. Sign up right here.

A New Jersey mom learned that keeping your browser open may not be the best idea as children, and even infants, become increasingly tech savvy.

Madhu Kumar was browsing Walmart’s furniture selection on their website and had added some items to her shopping cart but never checked out. She was shocked and confused when she started to receive a steady stream of packages from the big-box retailer.

Madhu immediately turned to her husband and two older children to find out who ordered the packages.

“I need one or two, why would we need four?” Madhu asked.

As it turned out, her toddler Ayaansh Kumar – who, at 22 months old, was barely learning to count – had gone on a $2,000 shopping spree while playing on his mother’s phone.

“It is really hard to believe that he has done this, but that’s what happened,” Ayaansh’s dad, Pramod Kumar, told NBC New York.

Among the packages were some that could barely be squeezed through the family’s front door at their home in Monmouth Junction.

Purchases included accent chairs, flower stands and a range of other household items that arrived throughout the week.

“He’s so little, he’s so cute, we were laughing that he ordered all this stuff,” his mom remarked.

From birth, young Ayaansh had observantly watched his family members engage in a range of activities from home – including shopping, attending classes, and going to school. And as it the case for many kids of his generation, he knows the basics of operating a smartphone.

The parents are still waiting for all of the boxes to arrive so that they can return them to their local Walmart. The retailer has already told the Kumars that they are eligible for a refund, but the parents plan to save at least a few items to remind them of their son’s first e-commerce adventure.

“Moving forward, we will put tough passcodes or face recognition so when he picks up the phone he finds it in locked condition,” his father said.

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

Continue Reading

Trending

The Mind Unleashed