The Northstar has Landed
  • BirdMachineBirdMachine November 2015
    From Facebook 

    We're proud to formally introduce Northstar Version 1, a magnet activated, LED-equipped silicon device from 
    Grindhouse Wetware, implanted today in synchronous procedures at NRW Forum in Düsseldorf, Germany and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Follow us to stay tuned for videos of the implantation and information on pre-orders, coming soon!

  • garethnelsonukgarethnelsonuk November 2015
    Awesome, would love details on the power side of things
  • glimsglims November 2015
    Tell me about the coatings of your people.
  • mmuyskensmmuyskens November 2015
    Saw one of these devices at Grindfest - pretty awesome. There's a magnetic switch that allows you to turn it off/on, and a battery on the other side of the device which is not pictured.
  • ElectricFeelElectricFeel November 2015
    So this system is designed to be a gesture recognition platform with the LED's as the feedback, right? What's the code running under the hood?
  • CassoxCassox November 2015
    Nope. That's the next incarnation. This one is much simpler. Basically flashy lights only. It was designed for aesthetics. I was talking to Mack about this last night in fact... one might criticise that it isn't doing anything other than being an aesthetic unit. Yeah, like tatoos right? No market there eh? Not only is it cool in it's own right... Imagine what's possible with the kind of funding this thing is going to generate. I'd bet the next model is out rapidly. I haven't decided whether I want to place it in my hand or not though. I'm thinking of doing a posterior forearm honestly. We'll see. I've been talking to Grindhouse regarding a shipment of these out for the next Grindfest but no idea on pricing etc. yet.

    Something else to consider... there is sure to be some interesting backlash towards the community on this. I think we all need to stand together as advocates. At some point, someone is going to notice what we're doing bringing in things like regulation etc.
  • zombiegristlezombiegristle November 2015
    I'd be all over one with 3 LEDs in a triangle, underneath a Triforce tattoo on the back of my hand.
  • ElectricFeelElectricFeel November 2015
    Personally I feel like that's a lot of hand trauma for not much return, but I fully stand behind the information to be gained from the real life testing of larger subdermals and coatings.

    I would also say the fact that it does nothing will go farther towards acceptance. People will be quicker to accept a fashion accessory than an RFID, (I've seen enough "GOV TRACK THROUGH SAT-CHIPS?!?!?" threads on those), and it's visually interesting enough to make a buzz.
  • garethnelsonukgarethnelsonuk November 2015
    Still want to know some details on the power setup - does it have an inductive charging setup? What kind of battery is it using?
  • glimsglims November 2015
    I agree with Cass on making sure everyone has their ish together (paraphrasing obviously ;).  The forum is our sandbox. We get to play and say whatever we want here. But outside we need to support each other and keep sensible heads on our shoulders.
  • SixEchoSixEcho November 2015
    @garethnelsonuk the implant runs off a CR2325 lithium coin cell, with a capacity of 190mAh. not much but it gets you tens of thousands of uses, several days of lights-on time. it is not rechargeable.

    @glims it's coated in 0.125mm parylene-c, under 1mm silicone.
  • MackdogMackdog November 2015
    Nothing wrong with a modern aesthetic change :)
  • gbitgbit November 2015
    I would love to hear how the biocoating was applied and where it was acquired from
  • MeanderpaulMeanderpaul November 2015
    Is it only available in a circle or could other shapes be made? (I.e. Lines,stars)
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith November 2015
    While I support Grindhouse and think this is a good step toward one day making useful implants. There are a number of reasons why I won't be getting one myself.
    But I am still very interested in hearing more details about the current design, and in seeing updates on how the implants heal etc.
  • ElectricFeelElectricFeel November 2015
    If these are just LEDs and a reed switch, what is that QFP?
  • BodyHackingConBodyHackingCon November 2015
    This is great. Those of you with Northstars implanted, thanks for taking one for the team and letting us know how well they hold up. 

    I could see lights like these getting to be very popular once the induction charging is going strong.
  • ChilliEyeChilliEye November 2015
    How thick are they?
  • SixEchoSixEcho November 2015
    @gbit parylene is laid down by vacuum deposition. the silicone was cast and then machined into shape, but in future, will be injection molded. We made an agreement so I can't give you specifics, unfortunately, but a quick google will turn up many companies equivalent to the one we used. is a small and agreeable example. They will coat your stuff, no questions asked. minimum order is usually around $1k.

    @Meanderpaul it's only available in a circle, but we are talking to some folks who want to place that circle inside larger silicone forms, any shape you like. the two silicone layers will provide great mechanical resilience.

    @ElectricFeel the QFP is an ATMega328-P. it's overkill for this design, but friendly and low-power. We use PWM to make the lights more efficient. This would be difficult to achieve without a controller. If we were going for sheer simplicity, we could have made the device much smaller (and we might, in the future. LED in an RFID tube, anyone?), but we also wanted to see how devices of this size interact with the body. We knew that northstar V2 would be around this size long before we completed V1.

    @BodyHackingCon thanks! you won't have to wait long. we've got wireless power up and running in the lab, and we'll make our designs available to everyone when we're ready to go commercial. (Our Qi charger can fit on the back of a penny, with room to spare.)

    The biggest difficulty with this project wasn't electrical design so much as learning to work with other companies, and the ins and outs of mass production. Our first attempt at a parylene coating run ended up destroying 50 northstar units. That would have been a very expensive mistake if we'd been using complex hardware.

    @ChilliEye they are 6.5mm thick.
  • garethnelsonukgarethnelsonuk November 2015
    "Our Qi charger can fit on the back of a penny, with room to spare"

    Me wanty
  • ChrisBotChrisBot November 2015
    Until we get something better than Lithium-Ion, I guess the next best thing would be to start at a good charger. I can't wait to see a Qi charger that small

    I wonder if you could ever make it flexible. Of course repeated flexing and bending would eventually lead to failure.

    These intrigue me though
    and also 


  • MTSMTS November 2015
    I hope v2 has blue LEDs as an option too.
  • ChilliEyeChilliEye December 2015
    Takin orders yet?
  • bciuserbciuser December 2015
    So how many hands have needed amputation?
  • JohnDoeJohnDoe December 2015
    Yea what's the rejection rate on that? Those stichs look like there about to be yanked apart.... What happens when the battery dies? Also the hand seems like a really bad place to put something like this, do to all the movement of skin the back of the hand experiences....
  • MTSMTS December 2015
    Hmm, what about the one guy/woman who inplanted it in their forearm area? I wonder how that one is doing..
  • FredFred January 2016
    An implanted battery seems like the bulkiest and riskiest part of the device. Have you considered wireless charging and a supercapacitor? There's a 0.1F one sitting on a MSP430FR5969 Launchpad right in front of me and it's not that big - 10mm diameter and 4mm thick. I'd much rather have that under my skin than Lithium Ion.

    Obviously a supercapacitor is nothing like 190mAh but it would charge *really* quickly so even if you only got a day or two's use out of it before recharging it would be too problematic.
  • ElectricFeelElectricFeel January 2016
    Supercapacitors are larger for any value of power. Any supercap you find, there's a lithium battery the same size with more power density until you get to the really tiny ranges. They also don't store enough energy for running LEDs for more than a few minutes, or for operating a vibration motor. The bluetooth alone would drain any supercap smaller than a battery in seconds to minutes.
  • chironexchironex January 2016
    lol you're just building a shitty capacitor then. The ones I've seen are thousands of times better than anything on the market currently. Although many of those are really expensive. And I'll be releasing my own in a few months. They're only shitty because people use activated charcoal or actelyene black to make them. That'll get you about 800-1000 farads tops. Using something like nanotubes or graphene pushes that up by significant fractions. If you wanna be impressed go look at robert murray smiths work. Thiner than a credit card and flexible as hell. I'm seeing if I can beat his record and cram even more power in there. Everything I'm using to make mine is pretty much inert so you could practically eat it. I wouldn't mind you, but point being, these are the future and lithium is going the way of the dinosaurs. Gonna have an implant version by march hopefully. 
  • JohnDoeJohnDoe January 2016
    What the heck do you do for a living? I ask because you seem to have a lot of free time....
  • ElectricFeelElectricFeel January 2016
    I can't seem to find any published specifications on Murray's stuff, but it doesn't seem to be the silver bullet you're claiming it is.

    If the credit card supercap is this one, it's not thinner than a creditcard, it appears to be several times thicker. It just has a slightly smaller outline. With a capacity of 2000F and an assumed voltage of 2.7V, that's 7290J of energy. Compare that to this lipo, which is 2cm shorter than a credit card, but otherwise similar to the one he displays in terms of thickness, and the amount of energy it stores : 26690J. It's not even close.

    For reference, the volume of an ISO standard credit card with a thickness of 1mm is 4.62cm3

    An off the shelf lipo battery like this one is pretty tiny, 110mAh at 3.7V which works out to around 1465.2J in 1.92cm3 (less than half the volume of a credit card)

    An equivalent capacitor needs to be 402F, assuming a working voltage of 2.7V. Can you make a cap that small?

    Two other points; unless you can get a capacitor that operates at or above 3.7V, you can pretty much write off using a simple MCU with your implant. It's just not feasible to add a boost regulator to an implant. Secondly, an overvolted supercap will breakdown and emit gasses much like any other power storage medium, although less violently than a lipo.
  • chironexchironex January 2016
    Meh that's his. Like I said, I intend on doing significantly better. He took loses to keep costs down and to get to production faster. I'm gonna see if I can minimize those loses further. Also having access to a universities journal subscriptions and labs means that I have everything I need to improve on his significantly. 

    Also even if super caps currently hold slightly less power they have lots of properties that still make them out preform lithium. Firstly a cell based on something like nanotubes can cycle 50,000 times with little reduction to functionality. And there are materials that could push the 2000 farads he got in his credit card cell up significantly. And those materials can be improved further by messing with them on a nanoscale to increase their surface area. Also while I'll concede there is the chance of gas, unlike lithium it won't also light on fire and spray carcinogens and worse into your body should it fail. I'm not saying a failing supercap would be pleasant, but it's safer than the alternative.  Also unlike lithium the materials I'm using to make mine are relatively cheap and incredibly safe (also abundant, something lithium is not). Can I make one that small? Probably. I'm making mine 2cmx 8cm x 3mm and 2cmx4cmx3mm So thinner but a bit wider/longer than that one. And I'll be continuing to improve mine over the next few months. For mine I'm aiming for 40mAh to start and I'll go from there. 

    Also robs cap isn't as energy dense because he's not making small ones. His goal is big caps for cars and houses. Mine will be good for that too, but I'm starting with caps for implants. Hence why im spending extra time figuring the best way to cram more power in there and make it smaller
  • ElectricFeelElectricFeel January 2016
    His goal is great for houses, it fills an excellent niche; namely the need for low cost power storage. Space isn't a premium in a house, so taking up about as much volume as equivalent lead-acid system for much less money is fine.

    As for the ultra-tiny cells, I would still go with ones like these until supercapacitors have had time to mature.

    Also 40mAh at what voltage, and what's your self-discharge rate? If you have another thread on this we can talk there, this is getting a bit off-topic.
  • chironexchironex January 2016
    the cell has to preform as good as a lithium battery of the same size or better. So 40mah at 3.2-3.7v and I'll be keeping the self discharge rate as low as possible. It's still early and I won't have the cells finished for a few months but I'll be showing off some prototypes at bodyhacking con. I'll make a thread once I've got better prototypes to show off. i'm waiting on some materials 
  • SixEchoSixEcho March 2016
    @MTS - V2 does have blue LEDs! It'll be hard to see them though, skin blocks blue light really well.

    @ChilliEye - sort of. Maybe send an email to [email protected] if you're interested. Unfortunately our first production run was spoken for before we even got them back from the fab. You will be able to purchase these implants from our website within a month or so, and it'll set you up an appointment with our nearest implanter.

    @bciuser & @JohnDoe none so far! we have had a 100% success rate over eight implants, with no rejection, infection or breach.
    The hand IS a terrible place to put it though. Our CEO Justin has maintained his iron-man lifestyle with a Northstar in his hand, but I had a few issues with blood circulation, it made my fingers numb if I exerted myself. I recommend the wristwatch or forearm position instead, especially if you are thin. for V2 we are considering softer silicone, or curving the back side to make it more comfortable.

    @MTS - The guy with the forearm implant elected to have it removed. We got some good science out of it.

    @Fred it definitely is the bulkiest and riskiest part of the device.
    Like I said in the last post, we left wireless charging out on purpose to simplify this project.
    In my opinion, commercially available supercaps are not a replacement for lithium cells (yet). Energy density is too low. They are more suited to energy-harvester applications.

    Yesterday, we completed an exhaustive test - 17,500 activations before running out of power!

    @chironex you build your own supercaps? that's really cool. are you able to package them so they can be used as a component on a circuit board? do you do it professionally or just because you want to?
  • MTSMTS March 2016
    @sixecho thats good! I wonder if there are other colors that'll be available?

    Ok cool I'm thinking about implanting it in the wristwatch area.
  • chironexchironex March 2016
    @sixecho They're still in development but ya once they're done they'll work with any circuit. I'm making a bunch of different sizes so you can pick the size you'd need. I'd say I do this semi-professionally at this point. Only because my lab is in serious need of a big upgrade, but even then I'm already outpacing most of the people working on them. I do it both because I want to but also because I know I need them for some of my more exciting projects. And since there wasn't anything good enough on the market I had no choice but to invent my own. 
  • JohnDoeJohnDoe March 2016
    So what's that like? Are you doing more installs or are you more focused on development?
  • chironexchironex March 2016
    Installs? Not sure what you mean. I'm just developing them atm. Once I get an acceptable cap I'll be looking into mass production.
  • JohnDoeJohnDoe March 2016
    Like implanting magnets and such.... But thrilled to see someone try and move this forward and innovate!
  • EKahnEKahn March 2016
    Did someone say that V2 will have gesture recognition? Because that would be rad! Would it still have to stay on the hand or are there other areas of the arm you're looking at for that?
  • MTSMTS March 2016
    Has anyone had any trouble getting through airport security with one of these installed?

  • BirdMachineBirdMachine March 2016
    V2 Will have gesture, correct :D as SixEcho mentioned above:
    "The hand IS a terrible place to put it though. Our CEO Justin has
    maintained his iron-man lifestyle with a Northstar in his hand, but I
    had a few issues with blood circulation, it made my fingers numb if I
    exerted myself. I recommend the wristwatch or forearm position instead,
    especially if you are thin. for V2 we are considering softer silicone,
    or curving the back side to make it more comfortable."
    Mine's in my hand and I haven't run into the same sort of issues, but I have a bit more space and am less active in general.

    Took mine through the airport on the way home and opted for the freedom fondle instead of the machine, and I had no issues. Mileage will vary, given the TSA's gross targeting.
  • GriskardGriskard March 2016
    "Mileage will vary, given the TSA's gross targeting. "

    Its ok, I'm a white male... :p
  • MeanderpaulMeanderpaul March 2016
    I just went through with an RFID and my belt and never set off an alarm. (Also looked like a mad bomber, didn't get pulled for the first time) My boss ended up getting "random searched" I laughed and proceeded to mock him next to the tsa hahaha

    Edit: I forgot my point lol. I think they have made modifications to scanners for some more common objects like belts so I'm not really sure it would show up( could be wrong) unless you go through that whole body scan. Also a lump in the hand may make you get a little more attention then normal from an agent seeing how it's electronic and lights up....
  • JohnDoeJohnDoe March 2016
    Sir I am afraid I am going to have to ask the hat you please remove your and to pass. *pulls out stolen pocket knife* easy way or hard way sir.
    As this gets more mainstream I won't to see a biohackers vs TSA thread....
  • MTSMTS March 2016
    Hahah thanks guys!
  • ThomasEgiThomasEgi March 2016

    just label the implant as TSA compilant in a professional manner ;)
  • MTSMTS March 2016
    LOL wow @thomasegi
  • JamesTJamesT April 2016
    Practical applications?
  • ChrisBotChrisBot April 2016
    @JamesT, this is more of a proof of concept. V2 will have gesture control and bluetooth I believe.

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