I bought the DT kit that includes the NEXT and the Spark 2. Before purchasing, i researched the NEXT capabilities and was excited and pulled the trigger. Now that i have them (spark not installed yet), i can’t find any good reason to have the spark 2. It’s capabilities are limited compared to its newer version, it’s not as compatible with significantly more tech (door locks and such) than the NEXT, and you can barely find any information about it with its developers.
My issue isn’t that the chip is entirely useless (i have no way of knowing without implanting it), it’s just that it’s so heavily advertised on DT in the kits that are sold. At this point, I’m so very happy with my NEXT chip, and sitting on a wasted bag of sterilized trash i bought with no warning of its limitations.
If anybody can provide information on its benefits, i would be happy. Otherwise, please DT, why are you selling it?
I believe I am reading your post in the tone that is intended, so I will answer accordingly from a customers perspective.
I guess that’s subjective, and not how I see it.
Sure, they are in the kits, but “heavily advertised”
I have a Spark, mine is the original (ISO15693)
I am happy with mine as it is an uncommon tech, HOWEVER it is compatiable with a few good products.
The Spark2 (ISO14443-A) is more common, so I wouldn’t call it useless, though it may be limited on some systems.
Vivokey (Spark and Apex which are products sold through DT) have their place, but indeed Vivokey have shifted focus (rightly so) to a newer and better chip, resulting in veering off the direction of the spark, yet it still has some functionality, including as a backup access and proof of ID to the APEX system.
A small implantable proof of ID / account recovery is not outdated.(remember you do not have to implant it, but if you keep it in a safe for example, it may become useful to you in the future.
I’m happy, that if I was to loose access to my Apex implant/ account, I could easily proove my identity and get my account back.
I would also add, if you look at the price of the bundle, you are almost getting the Spark 2 for free; so in my opinion not a waste if money.
Thanks for your input my friend. I know i sound relatively harsh in my post, i was frustrated while writing. I do still feel that this product should have documentation on DT or somewhere that is easily viewable before purchase though.
I do want to explain that what i meant by “heavily advertised” is that the only KITS that include any vivokey products only include the spark 2. And the write-ups about those kits don’t specify that this product is a mid level generation before the apex that has lessor capabilities. Actually, the information includes dead links to the vivokey website when you’re seeking information.
I know the spark 2 will have its uses for anyone, i just feel misled about the purchase around it.
I will completely agree that the price of the kit was a great value and would definitely recommend it to anyone, provided they know the specifics about the spark 2.
Kinda true for all of them.
While the DT website does a good job at giving the specs of each one these don’t really mean anything to newbies. I think a lot of people want a chip to “open my door” but as soon as they see all the options and get confused they give up. Only a fraction ends up on the forum.
The chip industry is still heavily targeted at hackers but as it opens up to the rest of the world some changes will need to occur.
At some point DT is going to have to make decisions for their clients and kinda take them by the hand. A phone company doesn’t ask you what processor you’d like. If they made implants they would sell you the lock with it already configured and put their brand on it.
It’s gonna be sad day for hackers though
Welp… i can’t argue with absolutely any of that lol. Perhaps my discomfort is the fact that spark 2 is a cryptographic chip and my newb self is just disappointed in today’s technology around it. Expecting something more. Or maybe it’s just thee vivokey website not having it on thier website. Either way… i will survive happily with my next.
Can anyone tell me if i can treat the spark 2 the same as the hf side of next? I’ll use it then, and perhaps browse the vivokey app aswell
Using the vivokey app you either make it open a link or your vivokey public profile that works like a business card. You can also use it to login to any service that uses vivokey authentication by scanning a qr code with the app and then scanning the chip. (Although not many websites use it)
I personally use it as my business card (linktree link) which means I can put personal stuff on the others and have the two separated.
Edit: I don’t recommend this but hypotheticaly you can fidle around with the injector inside the sterile pouch and get the spark to stick out a bit from the needle so you can scan it without having to implant or touch it. This way you can test the app.
Unfortunately the “scale” of DT is relatively small, so the labor and capital available to maintain everything and handle customer communication is limited.
Amal spends an impressive amount of time pushing to make implants have more mainstream applications and appeal, and a lot of that is in the VivoKey arena where the company is already much bigger than DT and is destined to grow and have a huge impact. The user experience for many VivoKey products is intended to be “plug-and-play” with very little knowledge required.
DT will always be the more hacky DIY side of implants, so unfortunately you have to expect to do your own research and sometimes testing to make things work the way you want.
My suspicion is that if the apex does well the spark would indirectly benefit from that in that vivokey would get more widely used as authentication.
Also are spark still beeing actively produced? Or is it all original stock?
We brought on more people. We’re constantly expanding the “ecosystem” of applets and support software. There’s also been a ton of progress in the arena of various wearable form factors, like the Apex Ring. Still striving to make tokenized payment a thing for the implants. It already works for the wearables.
Now that the Apex is out, the best way to get it to new audiences is by producing wearables and then right next to that having the implants so you can say “oh you liked the wearables, here’s exactly the same thing but in a different form factor”.
I don’t work for DT I just know Amal really well so I’m not sure if it’s still “actively produced”. It doesn’t really work like that though. Implants are ordered in huge batches. Whenever it’s time to order a new batch, that’s when it’s decided if a product is still active depending on a lot of factors. One of the factors is part sourcing, which is why a few other products like the DESFire glassies are out of stock.
ultimately, this concern is accurate. the original plan was to have something like the apex… but plans got torpedoed over and over again, frankly by faulty hardware from NXP (P40 and P60 chips have bugs that make them ill-advised to use for implants). Ultimately VivoKey had to move forward with something, so the Spark and platform was conceived… then Google pushed an update to Android that absolutely destroyed the readability of ISO15693 tags overnight. People with well working phones suddenly could not scan their Spark chips. I couldn’t scan ISO15693 full size cards reliably. After using connections at Google to speak with the actual guy in Singapore who works on the NFC stack for Android and shipping him cards and full accounts of the problem, I was effectively told to shove off… so the Spark 2 was born… an ISO14443A version with an additional feature.
In the end, the Spark + platform solution burned through 3 co-founders… one who quit within a week of seeing the scope… and so I put an ungodly amount of money into hiring a guy to roll it out. During that whole time, the promise of OpenID Connect and SSO being used as an identity service for the common person was swallowed by “enterprise” pricing for every single service which offered that connectivity… and… also at the same time… FIDO began to gain serious ground as a personal identity and security solution online.
Where we are now - we have a lot of Spark 2 inventory already manufactured. We still plan to entirely revamp Spark 2 platform support… but Apex has taken over complete focus and attention, and we have no clear timeline for when we can refocus efforts on Spark 2 platform development.
Amal, this is unfortunately exactly what i wanted to hear. I support your endeavors and hope you don’t face issues like that in the future.
IMO the spark 2 is still appealing, so long as it’s benefits over a generally standard nfc chip, and shortfalls compared to the apex are clearly explained (be it on DT or the vivokey website). So i voted accordingly on your post. Thanks for taking the time to explain the situation.
The redeeming feature of the spark 2 is that it’s a business card/link that is extremely user-friendly. As a customer, you don’t have to deal with NDEFs, tagInfo or NXP. You buy a Vivokey chip that comes with a Vivokey app and that’s it. Some people can’t be bothered to learn what NFC and NDEF are they just want a business card with a nice UX that works.
So why not market it as that? A quick UI overhaul of the app to make it even smoother and you’ve got a new audience.
The Spark and Spark 2 work with the current platform which proxies scans as authentication tokens as an OpenID Connect IdP. If a service exists which you can register OIDC IdP endpoints then you can use your spark for that… unfortunately when we created the platform it appeared OIDC was set to become a common internet identity protocol, but Fido has overtaken that premise.