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In Futurama every person has a chip implanted with their personal details and a predetermined job.

On the show the chip seems to be implanted in to one of their hands, and is easily removable.

Where would be the best place to have such a chip installed at birth that would be extremely difficult to remove?

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marked as duplicate by dot_Sp0T, Mołot, anon, L.Dutch, sphennings Nov 9 '17 at 17:52

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    $\begingroup$ For my dog, I get a discount if they put the chip in at the same time they take certain bits out. So maybe that's a good place to install it, generally? (I also get a bumber sticker.) $\endgroup$ – JDługosz May 23 '17 at 21:25
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    $\begingroup$ Ha ha. Pretty sure the nape of the neck/between the shoulder blades is where they put chips in, regardless of where they take other bits out. $\endgroup$ – MichaelHouse May 23 '17 at 22:05
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    $\begingroup$ Why not have multiple pieces that can talk to each-other? One in the skull, one in the abdomen, one in each limb, whatever. As soon as you remove one, it, or the others, complain to the authorities somehow. $\endgroup$ – Mad Physicist May 23 '17 at 22:26
  • $\begingroup$ One scifi story/series I read had similar chips for military members to do authentication, etc. For them, it was abotu the size of a grain of rice, and randomly placed as well as several "falsies" randomly placed, so while it may be visible on X-Ray or equivalent you may not have found the active/correct one. $\endgroup$ – ivanivan May 24 '17 at 15:53
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    $\begingroup$ @JDługosz -- so does the bumper sticker say "I ♥ my dog" or "I ♠ my dog" ?? :-D $\endgroup$ – Simba May 24 '17 at 16:00
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Inside the skull

When babies are, well, babies, the skull is actually rather soft. Right in the inside of the skull would make a chip very hard to remove, but not incredibly difficult to insert.

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  • $\begingroup$ Add to that, it would be easily locatable there as well. However, the surgery to open the skull, while not trivial, is still relatively simple. There is evidence that the cavemen performed trepanning. You would also want to affixe it to the skull surface so it doesn't do damage if it moves. $\endgroup$ – ShadoCat May 23 '17 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ Considering that there's been people all over history that got holes drilled into their heads it wouldn't seem that difficult to remove the chip again to me :/ $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T May 23 '17 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ If skull is not removal proof, what is? $\endgroup$ – Mad Physicist May 23 '17 at 22:24
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    $\begingroup$ Do you mean inside of the cavity created by the skull (where the brain resides) or inside of the skull bone itself? I am not native speaker so I am not sure it is obvious from the wording. Also, is the baby skull soft enough to easily insert something into the bone in a way that the bone would harden around it? or would the object get rejected? $\endgroup$ – Lope May 24 '17 at 7:00
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    $\begingroup$ I was imaging on the interior of the skull, but inside the bone itself is interesting. I would guess that it would make a weak spot in the bone though, and may be easier to remove then. Also, pertaining to the holes drilled in skulls, often the holes were simply to let things leak out, not remove a solid object. If you had something like a quarter-sized silicon disc, a very large hole would be required to grab on and pull it through. $\endgroup$ – Rabbit May 24 '17 at 22:13
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Near an Important Artery

As a baby, arteries are much smaller and much more accessible to surgeons. A tiny incision could take a chip right close to major arteries with little risk. In the future the tiny chip remains tiny, while these major arteries grow considerably. It would take a skilled surgeon to remove the chip without damaging these vital arteries.

The authority responsible for placing the chip could also vary the locations of these chips to hit various arteries, so finding its location would factor into the cost of having it removed.

Within Bone

Putting the chip inside of a subjects bones could also do the trick. Removing it would be incredibly painful (think bone marrow transplant) and costly. There are also many bones in the body, so this also provides an opportunity for varying the chip location.

The Real Issue

Regardless, if the chips can be inserted by a skilled surgeon, there must be the possibility of someone with similar expertise removing it. The real deterrent would be laws against its removal with regular checks (and likely strict punishment), and difficulty of removal. Making the actual procedure for removal incredibly difficult and expensive allows only the most wealthy or skilled to actually remove the chip.

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    $\begingroup$ I quite like the idea of being implanted in to bone. $\endgroup$ – Terry May 23 '17 at 21:09
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    $\begingroup$ Forgive my ignorance on the subject, but wouldn't placing something in the bones at infancy cause stunted growth and/or other issues? This is of course in reference to individual bones and not the person as a whole. $\endgroup$ – JustSnilloc May 24 '17 at 12:27
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    $\begingroup$ Honestly, I am not sure. I'll look into that and post what I find. I do know that your entire bone structure replaces itself within seven years or so, so you would need to place it in a way that the chip remains in the marrow. $\endgroup$ – Logan Kitchen May 24 '17 at 14:36
  • $\begingroup$ Your idea of implanting it near something opens up some interesting options to counter your last paragraph. If you just put a chip in someone, there could be someone who can cut it out. However, if you put a chip in someone and wait a while, the body may grow essential structures around the chip and make it impossible to remove without doing serious harm. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon May 26 '17 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ I asked a PA about the stunted growth question. If it is in the correct layer of the bone and not near a growth plate I was told there would be no problems. $\endgroup$ – Logan Kitchen Jun 23 '17 at 16:51
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Rabbit's suggestion of inside the skull is good, another possibility would be in the chest cavity. It could be inserted with a thick needle and the surgery to remove it is actually more difficult than opening the skull (if you don't get into the brain itself). You have to cut through muscle and bone and avoid a bunch of blood vessels that you really don't want to mess with if you don't know what you are doing.

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    $\begingroup$ I was thinking behind the rib cage, but I wasn't sure how easy it would be to remove. $\endgroup$ – Terry May 23 '17 at 21:08
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Make them breath it in

If your chip is going to be around similar dimensions to that in Futurama you could make people just breath it in. It will end up somewhere inside the lungs where it'll be nigh impossible to remove without extensive surgery.

The added bonus is that this way allows to even chip people that were born off the grid or outside your sphere of influence.

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    $\begingroup$ The body is fairly decent at not allowing debris into the lungs. What's the strategy for bypassing this? $\endgroup$ – MichaelHouse May 23 '17 at 21:02
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    $\begingroup$ @Byte56 there's people that have had peas end up in their lungs - so I don't think it too difficult for such an object to get there. In any case there's loads of drugs/meds that relax the throat (e.g. I'm on some pill right now due to extensive coughing in combination with a cold), which will allow things to pass way further down than they normally should. $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T May 23 '17 at 21:08
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, things do make it down there from time to time. And even if you temporarily relaxed the reflexes. There's the motile cilia that are always working to get junk out of the lungs. The article you linked showed that doctors were surprised to find the pea in the lung, which would imply it's not that common. $\endgroup$ – MichaelHouse May 23 '17 at 21:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Byte56 if I'm not misreading the article you linked then the motile cilia are in the windpipe, not any further down. The tools available to the lungs themselves would be too weak to actually shove the thing up again. $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T May 23 '17 at 21:21
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    $\begingroup$ Here's one reference: ciliopathyalliance.org/cilia/… $\endgroup$ – MichaelHouse May 23 '17 at 21:29
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So you want the chip to be hard to remove. Right. Does it matter if the subject survives the retrieval?


No

Get me that chip, I don't care. Put it somewhere accessible, but hardish to get to if the subject does not want you to. Go for between the shoulder blades if you want the least hassle. Somewhere under the skin in the breast area for visibility. Maybe in the buttocks? (not many nerves there)


Yes

I don't want to hurt or endanger you. And seeing you got your chip implanted into one of the upper vertebra, as in, it's part of the bone, it will be very hard to remove without complications.

(See Logans answer for some ideas. Or in skull like Rabbit says.)

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  • $\begingroup$ The chip should be as permanent add possible. If removal causes death then that is fine. $\endgroup$ – Terry May 24 '17 at 8:43
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    $\begingroup$ vertebra is a good suggestion, surgery there has a paralyzing amount of risk (intended). $\endgroup$ – Rabbit May 24 '17 at 22:15
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Here's a radical concept; nanobots.

These nanobots would be injected into the blood stream and use genetic information as a biological identifier and broadcast relevant information to the parties with access to the broadcast codes.

There would only be a few nanobots and they wouldn't need to store very much information. In fact, the data could be spread across a few bots if data storage is a problem. The reason why this is an excellent option is because there would be no way of knowing where in the blood stream the nanobots are hanging out.

While this isn't a chip per say, it serves the same purpose and is basically a chip that was chopped into a bunch of tiny pieces and still works.

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I think something that could be quite important to think about here is also that you don't want the populace to lose the chips implanted inside of them. There are quite a few job or hobby related incidents in which people lose digits are even entire limbs, like their legs or arms. Because of that, it could theoretically be considered a bad choice to place the chips here, unless of course you go with the idea that the government predetermines the chipped people's jobs as well.

In that case, you could decide that people in low risk jobs could get implanted in their arms or legs, and other people could get implanted somewhere else. It's that "somewhere else" bit that gets even more opinionated. Like others have stated, while it would be arguably easy to place a chip inside the head of a baby, it wouldn't necessarily be easy to pull the chips out later in life. A chip placed in front of, or near, a vital organ could result in pieces of the chip doing damage to the organs themselves if the chipped person is ever shot or stabbed in that area. Likewise, putting the chip in other areas, like under the arms or lower belly area could make sitting down or becoming overweight quite uncomfortable, depending on the size of the chip. Putting it in the back could make sleeping harder.

I suppose everything comes down to the size of the chip, whether or not it has to be removed in order to be verified (could officials simply scan the chip through the skin with an electronic device?), and how visible it must remain at all times.

However, as a side note I'd like to point to two chip-ish instances in video games: The location of Cortana in Master Chief's head in Halo, and the bar code on the back of Hitman's head in Hitman. Depending on your own rules, this area of the head could be a viable place to put the chip. There's a lot of ways to play with that idea. Put a small disk tray like device back there, or force the populace to keep their heads shaved. Overall, I'd still say that this can be kind of a difficult question to answer with so many variables.

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  • $\begingroup$ Some people can also lose their ears in a variety of ways. $\endgroup$ – Xenobear May 23 '17 at 22:51
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    $\begingroup$ Animal ID chips are typically readable at several centimeters distance, despite being quite small (roughly the size of a grain of rice) and relying on inductive power transfer from the reader. I suspect that one current practical lower bound of the size would be the ability to feed them enough power to transmit their payload data (which is typically a little over a dozen decimal digits); the electronics can be made pretty darn small these days, but there are physical limits involved in over-the-air energy and data transmission, and even buffering energy would require some physical space. $\endgroup$ – a CVn May 24 '17 at 9:43
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Put it inside the brain

A skilled surgeon can remove and replace almost any single organ or tissue of the body, but the brain is what make you who you are.

Yes we do have a number of skilled neurosurgeons in the world, but they are few and far between; and even if you could convince a sufficiently skilled surgeon to do it, I think the downside (brain damage) would be a pretty good deterrent against removing the chip.

Putting a chip inside a child's brain would carry risk, but if performed correctly (which standardizing would likely ensure) should produce little to no damage.

The brain is surprisingly resilient in recovering from damage, as shown in people recovering from severe brain injuries, but who would want to go under surgery to remove a chip, knowing that the person waking up wasn't going to exactly be you.

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