| Holly Wells (left) and Jessica Chapman who were found murdered in Soham, England, after they were reported missing. (AFP)
London, Sept. 2 (Reuters): A British scientist said today he had been inundated with requests by panicked parents to implant a tracking microchip into their children after the recent murders of two 10-year-olds in a quiet English town.
Cybernetics expert Kevin Warwick from Reading University near London believes he can allay parents fears with a tiny microchip that may prevent an abduction from becoming a murder.
The controversial robotics scientist gained fame in Britain after he wired his own nervous system to a computer in an experiment he hopes will eventually give paralysed people more control over their own bodies.
“A number of families have contacted me after the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman with the possibility of using an implant for their own daughter,” Warwick said in a telephone interview.
The bodies of the two friends were found in remote woodland two weeks after they went missing from their home town of Soham in eastern England on August 4.
“There are several options, including the possibility of using a mobile phone network to transmitting a signal and linking it to a Global Positioning System,” he said.
One family, the Duvals, has offered up their 11-year-old daughter Danielle as the first guinea pig to test the electronic tag, which Warwick said he hopes to perfect sometime before Christmas.
The operation would involve implanting a small transmitter about one inch long — the size of a lozenge, Warwick says — either into the child's arm or stomach.
“A potential abductor wouldn’t know the child had the device and it could be switched off to sleep mode when it wasn’t needed and to conserve its battery,” Warwick said.
Watches that perform a similar function are already commercially available in the United States, but they could be too easily removed and discarded, Warwick said.