We acknowledge Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and give respect to Elders – past and present – and through them to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
2008/11/2 Microchip reader and manual, AVID Standard Multi Mode Reader, plastic / metal / electrical components / paper, made by AVID Identification Systems Inc, Norco, California, United States of America, 1998. Click to enlarge.

Microchip reader and manual

The primary use of these microchip implants is for the identification of domestic companion animals. If an animal is found and cannot be identified by visual means, a veterinarian or animal shelter can scan the chip with a reader device and immediately identify the animal via the pre-encoded data contained on the chip. It has become common practice for veterinarians to implant the microchips, usually under the skin at the back of the animal's neck, at a reasonable cost to the owner. Breeders routinely have chips implanted in the animals they sell, as do shelters when animals are adopted. Microchip implants have significantly improved the control of domestic animals.

This type of technology is also used to identify livestock. The National Livestock Identification Scheme (Australia) includes microchip implants as part of its standard.

Of course the technology is not limited to tracking and identifying animals. Microchips are used in and on products for asset tracking, inventory control and to deter theft. Moreover, the shoelaces of marathon runners have been microchipped for timing purposes.

This type of device has been used to identify refugees, such as the 34 000 Haitian refugees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 1994. The refugees were given wristbands containing a microchip which were fastened to their wrists with a rivet gun. The refugees left Cuba en mass when President Fidel Castro announced that he would no longer prevent Cubans from leaving their homeland. The amount of fatalities at sea due to Cubans launching unseaworthy vessels in hurricane swept waters prompted US President Clinton to use the US's Guantanamo Bay facility as an immigration processing centre. The wristbands proved to be a highly effective means of identifying refugees on such a large scale.

This technology represents the ability to effectively identify and control domestic animals and products in a timely and highly accurate manner. It is also being used to track and control people. This too is an effective method of data control and communication; provided the technology does not impinge on one's right to privacy.

Damian McDonald
October 2007


Object No.


Object Statement

Microchip reader and manual, AVID Standard Multi Mode Reader, plastic / metal / electrical components / paper, made by AVID Identification Systems Inc, Norco, California, United States of America, 1998

Physical Description

Hand-held microchip reader used to scan American Veterinary Identification Devices (AVID) microchips and other Radio Frequency Identity (RFID) tags. The reader has a white plastic housing with a black oval pad which acts as the reader antenna or 'boot'; when activated, the antenna emits a low electromagnetic radio frequency signal to activate the identification tag. A long rectangular LCD screen is positioned on the top of the reader near a black rubber power switch. A black rubber 'read' switch is positioned below the handle. The unit is battery-operated; a cavity for a single nine volt battery is at the back of the handle. Small black rubber patches on either side of the handle can be lifted back to reveal a remote read switch jack and remote power supply jack on the left, and a computer interface connector on the right.

The microchip reader is accompanied by a portrait-format instruction manual for using the microchip reader. The manual contains ten white A4-sized pages of instructions and is bound with a black plastic spiral binding. The cardboard cover bears the text 'Standard Multi Mode Reader AVID 1001 Operating Manual April 1994'. A business card is stapled to the front cover.


Please see parts.



The AVID standard Multi Mode Reader and manual were manufactured by AVID (American Veterinary Identification Devices) Identification Systems, Inc.,Norco, California, United States of America.

The products were marketed in Australia by Veterinary Marketing Network of Wahroonga, New South Wales, Australia. The donor, who marketed the products in Australia, recognised their significance as a technological advancement, and donated the objects to the Powerhouse Museum.


Credit Line

Gift of Hugh Southwood, 2008

Acquisition Date

23 January 2008

Cite this Object


Microchip reader and manual 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 16 April 2021, <https://ma.as/319278>


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