The tech: Applied Digital subsidiary VeriChip's VeriMed system implants rice-size radio frequency identification (RFID) chips under a patient's skin. When a patient carrying the chip arrives in a VeriMed-equipped emergency room, a scanner reads the chip, enabling access to the patient's medical history. The company says the chips are implanted voluntarily, usually in seniors who can no longer speak well enough to communicate. A VeriMed spokesperson says one hospital is using the chip now, and more than 60 others have agreed to implement it. VeriChip also offers a bracelet (instead of skin implant) tracking system designed to reduce baby-snatching and switched-at-birth incidents in maternity wards.
Why it's important: When a patient doesn't know or can't relate his medical history, it can hamper treatment. In December, VeriChip filed go public and to spin out from Applied Digital.