A man who implanted a transport card’s contactless payment chip into his hand has been fined for fare evasion.
The man, whose legal name is Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, had cut the chip out of an Opal Card, which works in New South Wales, the Australian state that includes Sydney. Passengers can pre-load the card with money and then use it to pay for journeys by tapping it at ticket gates. (As with most contactless chips, the ‘tapping’ is simply a way to make sure it’s within range of the wireless receiver.)
Meow-Meow is an enthusiast for implanted technology. He removed the chip from the card and cut it down to the smallest possible size at which it would work, 10 millimeters by 6 millimeters, then had it implanted in his hand in a one-hour procedure. He was then able to load the card and pay at ticket barriers simply by swiping his hand over the barriers.
He had been charged following an incident last year. He pleaded guilty to using public transport without a valid ticket and not producing a ticket to officials upon request. Although local transport laws mean a correctly-used Opal Card counts as a ticket for these purposes, the entire card must be shown. Meow-Meow was fined 220 Australian dollars (US$170) and ordered to pay costs.
Following the initial coverage of the legal problems, transport officials cancelled Meow-Meow’s card (and in turn the chip) last month.
Undeterred, he plans to continue experimenting with implants, hoping to eventually have one chip that carries all the data from bank and other payment and membership cards.