RFID Glass Capsule (125kHz)

This is a glass, cylindrical RFID tag; it's very similar to those implanted into pets for identification purposes. But really guys, it's not for use inside your body. Please don't implant this thing into yourselves. Each tag comes with a unique 32-bit ID code and is not reprogrammable. The carrier frequency of this tag is 125kHz, so it works great with our ID-3LA, ID-12LA and ID-20LA RFID readers.

We tested this RFID tag with one of our ID-12LA readers and measured a maximum read distance of about 10mm.

  • Tiny RFID tag
  • 32-bit unique ID - non-reprogrammable
  • 125kHz read frequency
  • EM4001 ISO based RFID IC
  • Manchester encoding* Width: 12.25mm
  • Diameter: 1.93mm


RFID Glass Capsule (125kHz) Product Help and Resources

SparkFun RFID Starter Kit Hookup Guide

May 5, 2015

Learn the basics of how to get started with the SparkFun RFID Starter Kit.

SparkFun Qwiic RFID-IDXXLA Hookup Guide

March 14, 2019

The Qwiic RFID ID-XXLA is an I2C solution that pairs with the ID-LA modules: ID-3LA, the ID-12LA, or the ID-20LA, and utilizes 125kHz RFID chips. Let's take a look at the hardware used for this tutorial.


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Member #631957 / about 8 years ago / 1

    Where is the datasheet for the chip inside of this glass capsule?

  • Member #402485 / about 8 years ago / 1

    I built a setup to use these tags with an ID-3LA and a custom coil and it's kind of working, but I'm hoping to improve the read range. Any suggestions on the ideal antenna dimensions and wire gauge to maximize range?

  • TheBadWolf / about 14 years ago / 5

    I had one of these implanted in my right hand today.
    So if you're wondering if it work,well it does,thank you Sparkfun =D

    • SomeGuy123 / about 14 years ago / 4


      • TheBadWolf / about 12 years ago / 1

        well I got a led turning on and off using Seeed Studio reader but I'm badly disappointed by the reach of it since I have to almost touch the antenna with my hand twisted like some weirdo to have it detect it. Cards get about 1 inch of range with it tho.

        Message to sparkfun's admins, do you recommend the ID-20 for my specific case (trying to embed it into the door of a Yaris). I'm really looking for some range here,if the 20 ain't up for the task I'd be even more disappointed buying it and instead I'd like to ask for a more powerful reader,something in the feet range perhaps?

    • Member #543306 / about 10 years ago / 1

      hello, man, u had one??? how did u detected it?? and did u removed it?? please let me know!!

    • Member #384385 / about 11 years ago / 1

      Hi what are you using for a reader? what are you using the implanted RFID for? Thanks, Ashan

      • I'm planning on getting one implanted in my left hand so I can use the RFID door locking system at my place of work. I also want to be able to unlock my car door and start my car with it. That'd be pretty rad.

        • While I know customers have done this previously, please keep in mind these are NOT medical grade devices and are not designed/intended for internal use like that.

    • Carbon-rod / about 13 years ago / 1

      I have a different one, the one I had implanted is a HiTagS 2048 it has a EM4100 compatibility mode and is also read/write so I can change the code. My one also has a encryption function as well in case I decide to implement it at some stage.

  • Member #207133 / about 13 years ago * / 4

    I had one implanted in my left wrist. But really this is not a good idea if it is not properly sterilized. My dad is a doctor so he autoclaved it at 260F and did the procedure. Mine has been in for a bit over a week and no infections or anything negative so far. Don't expect very many doctors to be hot on the idea though.
    Here is the youtube video of the reader set up to start my motorcycle.
    Very fun to see the reaction of people when I tell them what I did :)

    • steven_k / about 11 years ago / 2

      Youtube says: "This video is private. Sorry about that."

  • darkskiez / about 13 years ago / 4

    "Please don't implant this thing into yourselves."
    So.... who can I implant one into? :)

  • kobachi / about 9 years ago / 3

    Anybody tried swallowing one of these?

    • Edit to obligatory warning above: Please don’t implant or ingest this thing into yourselves.

  • Member #460521 / about 11 years ago / 3

    I make a motion for a 13.56Mhz glass tag! Does anyone second that motion?

  • Member #44736 / about 10 years ago / 2

    I've seen a lot of comments about this glass tag being implanted, but nobody has pointed out that no research has been done to verify that the glass, epoxy, and copper wire resin are all made of biosafe materials. Industrial glass can contain lead, aluminum, and other nasty stuff that will slowly leach from the glass. Non-biosafe epoxy resin can contain high levels of VOCs and other nasty stuff that will be released if the glass casing ever breaks.

    www.dangerousthings.com sells tags that have been manufactured using biosafe materials and are sold pre-sterilized. Some are even pre-loaded into injection assemblies. There are also guides on how to properly place and implant their glass tags, and they are working on building a partner network of professional piercers who can perform the implantation. If you're here to consider implanting one of these tags, consider getting something actually designed for implantation.

    • M-Short / about 10 years ago / 3

      This is why we say don't implant them. As cool of an idea as it is, they aren't medical grade and we don't know how safe or non-safe they are. But it seems that telling people what not to do with things just makes them want to do it more. :)

  • Member #340534 / about 11 years ago / 2

    I ordered one of these 7/24/12 and today took it out of the drawer and tested my gun lock. Did not read tag tried my backup rfid card and gun unlocked. Called SF and they sent out a replacement within a five minute phone call. Start the one year test over again before implanting new tag.

  • Member #735 / about 13 years ago / 2

    These look fine for implanting. If you're worried about durability then buy two and smack one with a hammer to be sure. I've had one (presumably) just like this one in my hand for almost a decade. It's not at all delicate. I do mechanic work and it just isn't even a concern anymore.
    You don't want one coated with biobond or it will be a pain when (if) you want to remove it. It causes your flesh to attach to it. Just pick a decent spot for it and it will settle in ok. I had mine put in by a guy that did subdermal implants. It's down in my fat - it isn't migrating out or anywhere else.
    These have been in all kinds of animals for many years and they haven't all died of cancer. Your leg gets more RF from the phone in your pocket, and that's there all day transmitting something at least every few minutes. This passive tag is only powered when it's a few inches from a reader, and it isn't even an RF transmitter. It couples to the reader's magnetic field and communicates by modulating a load on it.
    And yes, there's nothing secure about these at all, but it's obscure enough for a lot of us so far. Just remember no biobond so you can upgrade later if necessary.
    I think it's great to see SF selling these. They haven't always been easy to buy, especially if you accidentally mention the words human and implantation together in your inquiry. I think it would be greatly more great to see SF selling a secure variant of them, as those are even harder to get in single quantities. I'd like to think there's a good option out there by now. I think the popular name was Hitag when I last checked, but it's been a few years. Also, you guys definitely need to let us know as soon as implantable active RFID arrives. We've been waiting a very long time for something implantable that can identify us without sticking our hands in funny places. No matter how much range you manage to squeeze out of these 125khz passive tags, it just isn't enough.
    Lastly, shame on you SF for discouraging your customers to implant these! Are we to believe that all of you don't have them in yourselves? How do you unlock your doors at work? Log in to your computers? Open your cars? How do you all clock in and out every day? What madness!! You guys should have been all over this by now.

    • M-Short / about 13 years ago / 7

      We here at Sparkfun are discouraging customers from implanting this in their skin not because we don't think implanted RFID chips aren't cool. Because they are, and we want them too. We are discouraging our customers from implanting these particular devices because that is not what they are made for. These are not medical grade devices and therefor may or may not cause health problem immediately or down the line. We don't know what problems they might have because they are not medical grade and therefor were not designed with that in mind nor have they been tested for that. In trying to keep our wonderful customers safe we encourage you to use only medical grade stuff if you are going to put it in your body.

      • Mr. Friendly / about 13 years ago / 1

        Perhaps the best way to discourage implanting this chip would be to either look into offering medical-grade units (VeriChip? other brands of pet implants?) or provide links and information about alternatives.

        • TheBadWolf / about 12 years ago / 1

          verichip won't sell to public cause they want the implantation control. I had a chat with them prior to buying this.

  • aliali / about 14 years ago / 2

    This can be implanted in humans, I have one but I don't know the long term consequences, though there shouldn't be any.
    Bioglass doesn't stop rejection, it causes the body to cover it in connective tissue which means it wont move and will need to be cut out surgically.
    Glass wont be rejected by the body since it has no antigens. Your body wont even "see" it.
    This is a "dumb" chip and will spew out the id given the chance, but is this really the weakest point in any system using it? There are easier ways to get past a rfid controlled door i.e. kicking it down. And laptops? Booting into another os/live cd.

    • WizenedEE / about 13 years ago / 1

      It's easy enough to have a separate circuit only apply power if the correct password/correct ID tag is given. It's just that nobody wants to have people brick their computers by forgetting the password, so they provide backdoors.

  • Member #711713 / about 9 years ago / 1

    Anyone know of a reader that can pick this up from farther away? I'm using the ID-20LA and I would like a better read area. Is there somewhere to buy larger induction coils to attach to the ID-20LA?

  • Member #685071 / about 9 years ago / 1

    Hi, do you have any datasheet for this tag?

  • What I find funny is that they warn to Please don't implant this into yourselves they say "Tiny, implantable RFID tag" With a double space, too.

  • Are the IDs unique only to the manufacturer/product line or are they unique to a large set of RFID products/standard?

  • Andrew D / about 10 years ago / 1

    I went against all advice and implanted one of these a couple years ago. It recently failed to function and I had it removed. Warning: bodyhacking - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yKNGVCcMkw

  • I want to put one of these in my iPhone 4, so I can use it as a key to my room (plans for an Arduino build) does anybody know of free space inside the iPhone body that I can place one of these? Sorry for the dumb question but I think it'll be pretty radical.

    • I'm not sure if you're still working on this or not, but why not put it inside a case instead of in the phone itself?

  • SlyVixsky / about 12 years ago / 1

    Got a question about orientation: In the video the glass capsule rfid tag is tested perpendicular to the reader. How good is the reception, if any, when it is parallel to the reader?

  • pacocuervo / about 13 years ago * / 1

    I want to use this one in porks to identify it. What is the best place to implant?

  • Andrew D / about 13 years ago / 1

    I've had one of these chips in my hand for close to a year now.
    No problems so far.
    Range is pretty limited to under 5mm through skin with a "normal" sized reader.
    Now all I need is a little "Sparkfun Inside" logo...

  • Protocol / about 13 years ago / 1

    I live how they said "Please don't implant this thing into yourselves" yet that is all people are talking about!!

    • M-Short / about 13 years ago / 1

      Actually that's why it says, "Please don't implant this thing into yourselves" because that's all people were talking about.

  • Member #57306 / about 13 years ago / 1

    I agree with all of the "don't do it" comments above. Consider in addition: These modules generate RF RADIATION. And the effects of radiation are proportional to distance... and your cells will be virtually in contact with the source of the radiation. Yes... low level radiation. Yes, not "nuclear" radiation. Small chance of inducing cancer. How big a chance of cancer is too big for you?
    On the other hand (my left one, actually), my plastic watch strap has a cavity on its underside that is absolutely perfect for the tag...

    • TheBadWolf / about 12 years ago / 5

      I drive a motorbike at 180 mph thus I don't seriously see RF radiation as a threat.

    • WizenedEE / about 13 years ago / 1

      RF Radiation is an electromagnetic wave, which is light.

      • Cjhazdroid / about 11 years ago / 1

        So are xrays and gamma rays. Just saying

        • Wrong they are radioactive

          • Member #562677 / about 10 years ago / 2

            You need to think before you post. Copper, plastic, glass, and other normal metals are not inherently radioactive. So, how do you imagine putting them together automatically makes them radioactive? Also, these are passive devices. That means they generate less of a magnetic field than you do when not in front of a scanner. Also, "radiation" by itself doesn't mean anything. You need to look up "ionizing radiation" and learn about harmful versus non harmful energy. These devices generate ZERO harmful energy. In fact, they don't generate anything at all. Free advice: Learning leads to the truth and the truth shall set you free ... from your fear. Peace.

  • Parcanman / about 13 years ago / 1

    Hey, just wondering if anyone thought of any uses for this that don't include slicing open one's skin (or swallowing it like a pill for that matter).
    Here's one idea that comes to mind, I could drill a small hole in every tool I have with a plastic handle, drop one of these things in, top it off with some hot glue, and bingo, if anybody takes anything out of my tool chest, I know exactly what and when.

    • The tool idea is a great one! Also, they can be sewn into various items (shirts, teddy bears, pet collars, etc.)

  • Dmitry221 / about 13 years ago / 1

    I have a friend who gives me very strong handshake. I want to implant this under the skin between thumb and poiny finger. Is it possible that hard handshake or some physical exersice can break glass ?

  • Tycho Vhargon / about 14 years ago / 1

    No, I read up on the topic a few months ago, and from what I remember, chips to be implanted into humans have to be made of BioGlass?. I doubt there's a doctor nearby that's trained to do this, so you'll have to do it yourself. Buy an animal injector (see link below). You'll want to put it in the area of your hand with no bone, it's sort of by your thumb. If you use this RFID chip your body will reject it with disgusting results. If you let the BioGlass chip stay in for long enough, your muscle fibres will bind to it, and it will be pretty much permanent. It could be removed, but it would require taking out a lot of muscle fibres, so doctors would only do it in an emergency, or something. Oh, and it's pretty hard to do this yourself, you'll want someone else to do the actual injection part. Oh, and it's gonna hurt like a sonofab***h, so you'll want to do one of 3 things, get really drunk, suck it up and be a man, or if you're good friends with your dentist (or maybe doctor) you can ask for some of that gel, or even a shot to numb it.

    • TheBestJohn / about 14 years ago / 1

      Actually no. BioGlass is not needed. As many others have said glass is inert and if sterilized properly it should not be rejected. Your best bet is to go to a piercing place to get this implanted as it is very similar to a sub-dermal piercing. Implanting one of these should go nowhere near the muscle as it is supposed to be just under the skin... the risk of implanting a non coated tag is that the chip may "walk" meaning it may move to another place in your hand as it settles. From what I've read chances of this are slim... personally I'd much rather have an uncoated chip rather than one that would need to take a chunk of me with it when it gets removed... can any SparkFun staff advise for certain if this is in fact cleared for implantation into animals?

      • TheBadWolf / about 12 years ago / 1

        For my implantation the chip sat in a sterilizing solution (not iodine since I'm allergic) for 15 straight minutes,no less. All worked out perfectly good.

      • VTGuy / about 14 years ago / 1

        I don't know if the term "rejected" specifically pertains to chemical, biological, or allergenic causes. From what I understand, a foreign object that isn't secured will migrate to the surface of the skin and eventually exit the body.
        Besides that, I don't understand why anyone is asking this stuff. I hope no one is seriously considering injecting these into living creatures. We should all know better than that!

        • TheBestJohn / about 14 years ago / 3

          Yes actually... that is exactly what I am considering... the animal being me...

    • Tycho Vhargon / about 14 years ago / 1

      That's a reply to TheMoogle, but it didn't reply for some reason.

  • Apothus / about 14 years ago / 1

    From what i remember of Amal Grafstras book RFID toys the main concer with implants is the coatings. The implants designed for pets have a special coating that allows them to bond with the flesh and essentially become part of the animal, if you want to remove it you essentially need to cut it out.
    You want an inert uncoated capsule that wont bond to your flesh so it can be easily removed at a later date. On the security issue, if someone wants to get in they will get in anyway. I plan on getting an implant for my front door, someone could spoof the RFID just as easily as they could bump the lock.

  • npkeith / about 15 years ago / 1

    @TheMoogle - I had the same question. Imagine a laptop hack that locked the machine unless your hand (with chip) was in range of a reader under the keyboard with say a 30 second rescan....

    • macpod / about 15 years ago / 1

      I wouldn't reccomend that for security reasons.
      It's a "dumb" rfid chip meaning it just spits out an ID. All a hacker would have to do is read/clone the id and then they could log in as you.

      • Tycho Vhargon / about 14 years ago / 1

        It would still be really cool though!

        • Tycho Vhargon / about 14 years ago / 1

          Unless these are coated in BioGlass, they are not safe for implantation. They would be rejected, which is bad.

          • VadimK / about 14 years ago / 1

            BioGlass has nothing to do with implantation.
            Standard glass is inert and wont cos rejection.
            This tag can be safely implanted as long as you do it right.
            It has a vary short read range less then half an inch. So unless the reader was actually touching you they couldn't get the pascode.

            • Even so, implanting glass into yourself seems like a bad idea. Those look hollow and therefore easily breakable.

              • TheBadWolf / about 12 years ago / 1

                After testing, people determined that if you would crush your hand hard enough to break the chip,it is very likely that your bone structure is beyond "broken". As a mech Eng I work a lot with heavy engines and parts,got my hands cut and crushed a couple of time and I must admit that the only time the chip did hurt myself was when a dog bit me directly on it. 2 days after it was brand new,still working.

  • fpoisson / about 15 years ago / 1

    "RFID chips are used in animal research, and tumors at the site of implantation have been reported in laboratory mice and rats."

  • TheMoogle / about 15 years ago / 1

    can these be implanted into humans?

    • TheBadWolf / about 12 years ago / 1

      yes,I have had one for about 1year and a half now. The tumor everyone is freaking about is for chip with the bonding coating on it,the one they use with animals to prevent the chip from moving all around. Mine did move but settled in a "dent" between 2 bones and it's not getting away now.

      As SF said, they do not recommend to do implantation and nobody else than you should be held responsible for your actions. That said,It's always nice to see people's face when they touch the chip under your skin =P

      Ask a professional body artist to do the job,people that do scarification or the like.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5

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Amazing Product

my daughter and I used these chips to make kyber crystals for our light sabers

Worked Perfect

I used this in end of a magic wand and it worked great! Even with RFID reader behind 1/2” of plywood.

Worked great!

These were exactly what I needed to make some custom lightsaber crystals. I dropped them into some 3D printed crystals halfway through printing. They are about the size of two grains of rice.

Despite what the listing says, they are programmable. I used a cheap RFID handheld programmer to set the codes I wanted on each.