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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Let Your Relatives Get Under Your Skin

A new product from VeriSci Corp. promises to make finding cousins easier than ever. VeriSci is known for those tracking devices that allow pet owners to retrieve lost animals. The same technology is now being used on humans to store medical data, and—starting today—genealogical data.

A VeriSci press release describes how it works:

The GenTracker chip will be implanted under your skin in a painless procedure. Your doctor will upload your medical history, drug allergies, etc., leaving room for up to twenty generations of your family history. Using our software and any wireless-ready computer, a file in GEDCOM format may be quickly loaded into the subcutaneous memory chip.
What's really cool is the way the chip can interface with any computer on any wireless network. When you go to the library, your GEDCOM file will go with you. Hard drive crash? Your family tree is safe.

For a little more money, you can upgrade to a non-passive RFID GenTracker, with other cool features. The chip will detect any related person within 20 feet of you, and send out electronic pulses alerting you to his or her presence. (Of course, this will only work if both of you have GenTrackers implanted, and have uploaded your family trees.) The strength of the pulses will vary according to the degree of relation: a seventh cousin twice removed might barely register, while a sibling might cause your arm to twitch.

I don't know if I want to carry my family around with me everywhere (imagine the twitching at family reunions!), but this is certainly an exciting new way to combine my hobbies of genealogy and body mutilation.

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