Thoughts for implantable data storage
  • aviinaviin June 2016
    I've been looking on and off at this for awhile now and while I'm not sure it's something I want to try, I'd like to get some general feedback.

    Suppose a person were to take one of these Sandisk Connect Wireless Sticks (and here's a manual for one for reference), tear it down to see if the size could be reduced at all (thickness could certainly be reduced by removing the outer case), swap out the power button with a reed switch, permanently connect an induction charging receiver into the (trimmed down) usb connection, and coat the whole thing in silicone (probably adding back all the thickness saved by removing the outer casing, sadly).  The idea being that you'd have implantable wireless data storage with already existent support applications for mobile devices (iOS and Android) and PCs.  Everything in a neat, nearly off-the-shelf package.  I know that many people won't see a need for such a thing, but it is a thing I want regardless.  200 gigabytes of implanted storage.  That's 40 more than Johnny Mnemonic and no need to dump any longterm memory to do it ;)

    Where are the downfalls?  Things that come to mind are:

    • The size is a little large.  I know SftM implanted a thumb drive as a test at one point...
    • The manual seems to imply that it needs a decent amount of power to charge (it will not charge if plugged into a usb cable and must be plugged directly into a port).  So the induction would need to output enough mA to be close to USB.  Would this get too hot?  Would the coil need to be unreasonably large?
    • How reliable are reed switches?  Would a typical magnet implant be able to reliably trip the switch?

    Anyway, it's just an idea I've been bouncing around in my head for awhile.  I would love some input, whether it is suggestions, condemnations, or whatever else.
  • I've always liked the idea of an implanted storage device. Storage space is the one thing I'd want more of from RFID implants because I like keeping data on mine. Be nice to have the ability to store files, photos, movies, etc.

    I have micro flash drives and wireless receivers for my Raspberry Pi, so even if we built one from scratch, it's going to be mostly power that will be the bigger issue. I don't know what kind of power would be required. Maybe we can find someone who could make micro batteries like these researchers did.
    https://www.seas.harvard.edu/news/2013/06/printing-tiny-batteries
  • chironexchironex June 2016
    I'ma just leave this here LINK
  • Rocco8620Rocco8620 June 2016
    Sounds nice!
  • JupiterJupiter June 2016
    I want to say that I had literally the exact same idea. I did some looking and found SanDisk's wireless storage drives like that, very small as far as such things go. I intend on getting one soon to do some testing, that is, dismantle it and see exactly how big the internal components are and what it would take to connect an induction charger and a reed switch to it. As an alternative though I had also considered a small Android device, I've done tests before and most Android devices will boot up with components missing, such as the screen, so if it were pre programmed to run an FTP server and link to its internal storage, that could work well. The only problem of course being that the preferred devices would be watches, the only one that I can think of that supported MicroSD cards (and thus, a decent amount of storage) is like twice the size of most (ran traditional Android though, not Android Wear, so I know it would be perfectly capable of doing anything necessary).

    All that to say, I think it's completely possible, the only question is exactly how to do it.

    As far as transdermal things go, that's exciting, but ultimately you still want everything to be wireless as having cords is inconvenient, less so with specially designed magnetic break-away cords, but still inconvenient.

    On the topic of my implant idea based on SanDisk's drive, I had given thought to where to put it (implanted), and my best thought was in the sort of void space just behind the clavicle bone on either side of the neck, feel free to tell me if that's an awful idea, I haven't done much looking into what sorts of blood vessels or ligaments are in the immediate area. I figured, since there's a visible sort of "pit" formed whenever my shoulders aren't basically as far down as they go, surely the skin can stand having something extra there, basically my thought was that the implant would be too large to fit well in the tightly wrapped skin around an arm or even a thigh without being somewhat extremely sensitive.
  • Dr_AllcomeDr_Allcome June 2016
    @chironex :  Love the transdermal, effective interfaces through the skin is going to be critical for the future of prosthetics and implants. 

    @aviin : I'd be interested to find out how hot one of those things gets... I've encountered a lot of USB memory devices that generate a lot of heat when in use.

    For that matter... Is heat a problem for implanted electronics? I've been lurking here for a while and reading through old threads but have not seen much discussion on specific tolerances and targets for heat generation.

    Does the human circulatory system help regulate the heat? Does low level heat cause discomfort or any medical issue?


  • glimsglims June 2016
    @Dr_Allcome There is some mention of this randomly in some thread. I suggest starting a thread on it
  • JupiterJupiter June 2016
    I assume heat could be an issue to an extent, but it may be less of a concern than most people think. Touching a piece of metal that's 100 degrees (Fahrenheit) may feel hot, but it's only a few degrees warmer than the inside of your body is. I wouldn't be too concerned about heat generated from the storage device itself as that's easy enough to regulate by simply reducing the frequency of read/write requests, I'd be more concerned about heat generated from the battery being charged or discharged, that could be solved by using a non-standard battery (that is, not the one in the particular off the shelf device we've been discussing), at that point though we're getting more into building a custom device, which is more complicated but at that point it'd be easy enough to add an extra wireless temperature sensor, which could at the very least tell the temperature sp you could adjust usage to accommodate it, or go so far as to reduce device usage automatically.
  • So is this project waiting on a good implantable power solution? I was thinking along the same lines with this: http://www.toshiba-memory.com/cms/en/products/wireless-sd-cards/FlashAir/product_detail.jsp?productid=737, but got stuck at the 2.7-3.6v it needs.