Biohackers Welcome Grindhouse Wetware’s Latest Subdural LED Implant, The Northstar V1
If you haven’t heard of “biohacking” as a burgeoning art, then the (graphic) descriptions and images that follow promise whole new horizons in “What the f*** is this, I don’t even…”
To our experienced biohacker readers, the recent debut of the Northstar V1 LED implant coinciding with 2015’s yearly Cyborg Fair in Dusseldorf, Germany has been like an iPad unveiling for things to stitch beneath your skin.
For the uninitiated, biohacking refers to a transhumanist body art and modification practice grounded in the belief that mankind’s next forward evolution will be unlocked by the integration of living tissue with technology. In a way, that’s exactly what makes implants such as the Northstar V1 so intriguing: what today is limited largely to aesthetic enhancement holds not-yet-realized potential for more practical applications.
The Northstar V1 itself was developed by Grindhouse Wetware, a Pittsburgh design studio dedicated to advancing a generation of “wearable” devices designed to augment their clients’ appearances in ways that are fascinating, if perhaps a bit unnerving to some. The implant itself measures about the size of two Euro coins and the thickness of an average adult thumb. Activation after a fairly straightforward 15-minute procedure is pretty simple: passing a magnet over the device sets off a 10-second display of five red LEDs. It then goes directly into a “Sleep” mode until activated again.
The implant was conceived to immitate bioluminescence, the natural light given off by fireflies and some species of fish and jellyfish, to name a few fauna with this gift. More specifically, the relatively few who have undergone the procedure have had them positioned to basically back-light tattoos. The Northstar V1 improves considerably on its predecessors with dimensions considerably less daunting than previous implants roughly the size of a pack of cigarettes. Its lifetime is finite due to its non-rechargeable battery, but fortunately, its illumination is good for around 10,000 activations in its default low-power mode.
If this sounds like a bit of a primitive use for technology that seems like it should be screaming with more beneficial uses – well, you aren’t wrong. Grindhouse Wetware’s chips that operate their implants are highly fragile – so much so, that they have paid obsessive attention to creating a casing that virtually guarantees no contact between the working electronics of the Northstar V1 and human tissue. More than being a matter of basic functionality, the studio is looking several steps ahead. They’ve already envisioned an implant that can stream real-time biometrics, such as blood pressure or blood sugar, and even utilize motion detection and Bluetooth connectivity to synch subdural device with a smartphone.
The result? Motion control over a device that essentially turns a human body into remote.
More to the point, a Wii-mote.
Source – Motherboard