NewsWorldIt is technically possible to inject a 5G chip...

It is technically possible to inject a 5G chip via a vaccine, but impossible to extract information from it – The Conversation EN


A few months ago, a rumor seized on social networks: the vaccine against Covid-19 would contain 5G microchips making it possible to track vaccinated people to retrieve private data. So is it possible or not?

It is ironic that this rumor arose almost 56 years to the day after Gordon Moore, one of the founders of Intel, enunciated an empirical law indicating a doubling of the number of transistors on a microchip every 2 years. about. This law is still verified today with elementary electronic components – transistors – which today reach nanometric sizes.

The first electronic components were made with vacuum bulbs containing filaments and grids called triode. By heating and electrostatic effect, weak electrical signals could be amplified. This is what allowed the first wireless transmissions of Morse code signals at the beginning of the 20th century.e century. Bulky, fragile, expensive and operating with high voltages, they will be replaced by so-called solid state technologies with crystals of semiconductor material.

The semiconductor component performing the amplification function was developed in the 1950s and the trade name was chosen by the Bell laboratories at the origin of this invention: the transistor. The first integrated circuit, that is to say, the possibility of making several transistors connected to each other directly in the semiconductor crystal, was realized at the end of the 1960s.

On an industrial scale, the square circuits are made next to each other to facilitate their cutting before packaging. In 2021, IBM has just announced the completion of transistor with an active area of ​​2 nanometers (i.e. about twenty atoms placed next to each other …): solid state found in the solid state disks of computers today, the solid state disks (SSD).

Geometry problem

So how many transistors could we burn onto a piece of square integrated circuit that would go through the hole in the syringe used for the vaccine? The circuit is square, the needle is circular with an internal diameter of 0.6 mm: we start with electronics and here is a geometry problem which would give a hard time to a college student.

The side of the square which can enter a circle, in the worst case, 0.6 mm in diameter is 0.424 mm. This makes it possible to produce 1.8 billion transistors (for a surface transistor 100 nm x 100 nm); as much as in the chips that equip the previous processors of a brand’s phones headed well known.

It is therefore possible to put a sealed electronic chip in a vaccine injection syringe with calculation capacities similar to those of current cell phones. It is also necessary that it communicates with the outside and that it is supplied electrically.

It’s all hanging by a thread

This is not just a big problem, because the injected chip has to communicate wirelessly with the outside of the human body. Antennas must therefore be made on the chip for wireless communication.

This time it’s the Maxwell’s equations that will have to be used to size the antennas. James clerk maxwell is a Scottish physicist and mathematician of the XIXe century. We owe him in particular the demonstration that the electromagnetic fields used in the wireless transmissions of our smartphones propagate in space in the form of a wave at the speed of light.

According to Maxwell’s equations, the ideal size of an antenna should be equal to the ratio of the speed of light to the frequency of electromagnetic waves (the wavelength). Sub-multiples of this ideal size (½, ¼, 1/8…) can also be used to limit the size to the detriment of detection. Current 5G uses frequency bands around 3.5 GHz. By choosing a sub-multiple of ¼ to limit the size of the antenna, an antenna of 2.1 cm must therefore be made to allow the electronic chip to communicate wirelessly with the outside of the human body.

RFID in the form of a sticker with barcode on the opposite side, security chip for a DVD.
Maschinenjunge / Wikimedia, CC BY

With such a dimension, the entire surface of the chip is not sufficient to produce the antenna, even in the form of a coil. This is also something that we all know on the condition of practicing a sporting activity and therefore going to a well-known sports brand: each item purchased has an RFID chip. The only really visible part of the chip is the coil-shaped antenna.

Flea in the ear

Dogs and cats are precursors in this area, because tattooing has been replaced by implantation of a subcutaneous chip. The device is about ten millimeters long to simply contain a unique number that can be read without contact. This number is read by bringing the reading system close to the animal’s ear.

And this is the case with all wireless data transmission technologies: the distance between the implanted chip and the reader is small, often limited to a few centimeters. First, it is a matter of securing the data precisely to avoid being able to detect the exchanged data remotely; second, because the power emitted by an antenna decreases with cubic distance. To increase the reading distance, it is necessary to increase the power emitted and therefore increase the volume of the battery.

How can we simply quantify so that we can answer our initial question? Between complicated units, complex mathematical equations and results very dependent on experimental conditions, the question seems simple and the scientific answer is not. To try nevertheless to give an element of answer on the dimensioning of a battery, one can be interested in that of the mobile telephones: the range of a telephone is of 1 km for a volume of battery of approximately 10 cm.3. Assuming that half the volume of the chip injected with the vaccine is occupied by the battery, the range of the chip would be 0.1 cm. Given the size of the battery, the chip must therefore be in contact with the reading system in order to be able to exchange information.

So possible or not to put a chip in a vaccine?

The processor of a 5G chip can be injected through the hole in the needle used to inject the vaccine. The range will be low and will require a reading system in contact with the skin.

By account, the antenna for the exchange of information is impossible to achieve today.

The frequencies used in wireless telephony transmissions have increased tenfold in twenty years. By extrapolating this law, it will therefore be necessary to wait 60 years for the frequency of wireless transmissions to allow the creation of antennas small enough to be able to inject a chip into a vaccine. By then, we will all have been vaccinated against Covid-19.


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