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"If I had to get a new Ph.D. now, I'd get it in polymer engineering - the manipulation of matter."
- Bart Kosko

Radiant  
  A chip that is injected into the shoulder, providing positioning and information about the subject.  

When Earthman Aile Farr arrived on Iszm, a planet of the Xi Aurigae system, he was naturally treated with great suspicion. Before being allowed to roam the planet, he was first given a radiant, for location and identification.

Eventually the medics, shaking their heads glumly, returned Farr to the outer chamber, where he was met by an Iszic in a tight white and gray uniform, carrying a hypodermic.

Farr drew back. "What's this?"

"A harmless radiant."

"I don't need any."

"It is necessary," said the medic, "for your own protection. Most visitors hire boats and sail out upon the Pheadh. Occasionally there are storms, the boats are blown off course. this radiant will define your position on the master panel."

"I don't want to be protected," said Farr. "I don't want to be a light on a panel."

"Then you must leave Iszm."

Farr submitted, cursing the medic for the length of the needle and the quantity of radiant.

From The Houses of Iszm, by Jack Vance.
Published by Better Publications in 1954
Additional resources -

Upper class Iszic carried special viewers, which would allow them to query the radiant for information:

The Iszic lifted a single-lensed lorgnette on an ebony rod, the viewer habitually carried by high-caste Iszic, an accessory almost as personal as one of their organs. Farr had been viewed many times; it never failed to irritate him... The radiant injected into his shoulder had labeled him. He was now categorized and defined for anyone who cared to look...

The Iszic flourished his viewer. "A privilege to greet a fellow-scientist."

Farr said sourly, "That thing even tells you my occupation?"

The Iszic viewed Farr's right shoulder. "I see you have no criminal record; your intelligence index is 23; your persistence level is Class 4... There is other information."

The use of the radiant as a locating beacon is demonstrated later in the novel, as Farr finally figures out why he cannot elude pursuers:

He looked up at the ceiling of the arcade, imagining the sky beyond. Somewhere, five or ten miles overhead, hung an air-boat. In the air-boat sat an Iszic, with a sensitive viewer and a radio. Everywhere that Farr went, the radiant in his right shoulder sent up a signal. On the viewer screen, Farr was as surreptitious as a lighthouse.
The techically savvy reader will no doubt recognize in Vance's "radiant" today's RFID chip, a small electronic device with a bit of memory to carry information and an antenna to transmit that information to a suitable reader.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Houses of Iszm
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Vance
  Tech news articles related to The Houses of Iszm
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Vance

Radiant-related news articles:
  - VeriChip Chairman Proposes RFID Chips For Immigrants
  - VeriMed Implanted RFID Dogtags Studied By Military, VeriChip
  - Human-Injectable Satellite Tracking Chip

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