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Inside The Wisconsin Company Microchipping Employee Volunteers

RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WCCO) -- We live in a world of cash and plastic cards, whether paying for purchases, or passing through a security door.

Some Wisconsin employees of Three Square Market in River Falls are now leaving that world behind.

"Who would have thought cellular phones would be what they are, or we'd have driverless cars? And when we came across it and saw it being used in other societies, we said, 'Why not us?,'" company president Patrick McMullan said.

Three Square Market is a manufacturer of self-checkout kiosks. On Tuesday, the company held a "chip party" to voluntarily microchip workers. The serial number assigned to the chip will allow workers buy a bag of chips from the company store, sign onto their computers and phones or unlock security doors.

Clearly, the technology means future opportunities are endless.

"Imagine being able to travel without a passport, or worry about losing it. Just hold your hand up and all the documentation comes up," founder and chief executive officer Todd Westby said.

The technology making it possible is a tiny glass microchip about the size of a piece of pencil lead. Each individual chip is programmed with a unique serial number, which is then inserted under the skin.

Roughly a third of the company's workforce can now pay for purchases in their micro market, with a swipe of the hand.

Three Square Market says it's the perfect fit for their core business, but already other companies are calling.

"We need to master this ourselves, so if we take this to market, we know everything," McMullan said.

The chip doesn't have GPS tracking capability, easing any fears of skeptical workers. And the insertion procedure had less pain associated with it than a simple flu shot.

"I thought it went great. I didn't know what it's going to feel like but, in my opinion, it didn't feel like anything," employee Tony Banna said.

And now he and many of his colleagues can leave their cash and cards behind.

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