Implanted armour (or armor, for the yanks) v.01, + new location, new coating, and new applications?

As part of an international team-up, I’ve been working with @cassox at the lab for a couple months now on various things and we’ve managed to implant some experimental body armo(u)r.   Long story short, we tried a bunch of stuff that failed and then settled on the relatively simple solution of combining d3o with PharMed BPT thermoplastic biocompatible tubing, and then implanted it in my arm.  We have some other coatings that we're also currently testing.

The d3o (which @glims pointed us to - thanks!) is a foam that behaves according to non-newtonian principles, in that it is soft/bendy until you apply quick pressure, at which point it becomes pretty hard.  It’s used in sports equipment, phone cases, and motorcycle jackets, and is readily available for a reasonable price.  If you are bored and have passed grade three craft class, you can get an idea of how it works for yourself by 1. saturating water with household cornstarch 2. putting it in a ziplock bag  3. reinforcing/attaching that ziplock bag with duct tape to your fist  4. going around punching bricks, chairs, corners of toolboxes, etc.  In fact, that was phase one of our experiment.  You need a lot less d3o to comfortably punch corners, and it’s far lighter/cleaner to begin with.

PharMed BPT thermoplastic tubing is also somewhat affordable, available from Amazon (among others) in many sizes, can be autoclaved repeatedly, and meets ISO 10993 standards for biocompatibility.  It’s a stretchy rubber.  And it’s heat weldable. 

So, d3o + tube =

The final implant:

After making a few dozen prototypes, the final design sustained a substantial bashing with a rubber mallet over 75 times before it even began to split.  Seems strong enough for a v.01.  It’s about the size of my pinkie finger.  So in it went.



Because of where it’s implanted I couldn’t actually see the procedure so you’ll have to ask @cassox how that went, but it took about 10 minutes.  It’s been a few days, with no pain or swelling or any problems at all.  I’ve accidentally hit it on a few things and it seems really sturdy, though I haven’t smashed it yet.  In the next couple days we’re going to take it out and see how it looks, and if it’s fine we’ll replace it immediately with another one.

We’ll have to wait for it to heal before I can start properly karate chopping evil-doers (plus my cape hasn’t arrived yet), but the early results of duct-taping it to our hands worked pretty well.  Remember, this is just version .01.  Obviously, the current placement and size/shape was chosen for easy implanting/removing/some karate chopping, but if the coating works out, we’re going to start working on other shapes/configurations, and possibly add a titanium mesh to the inside for knife/slash defense.   Your skin would still get cut, though your important parts would be okay.  It’s not bulletproof, but (as we learned from Dumb and Dumber) they can always shoot you in the face, so you have to be willing to take that chance anyway.

Even if the armour thing turns out to not work for such a purpose (I’d give it 50/50 odds), I think the coating itself is actually where the potential lies.  Put a watch in it.  Put antenae in it.  Put it around wiring that connects two other implants.  Put a flat RFID in it.  Maybe put a flexible PCB in it?  Smuggle your narcs across the  — no no not that one.  Even just as a body mod, you can finally make your own semi-permanent bagel head (google it).  With some practice, you can heat it up and shape it pretty easily with a household iron.  (note: soldering irons are usually too hot and will scorch it, making it brittle.  Might work with a temperature controlled one on a low setting… but I forgot mine at home). 

I’ll keep you posted on the healing, and you can come check it out at defcon if you want.  I think we’ll leave it in about a month, unless something comes up.  Once we have more data there'll be a more detailed posting here and/or the auglim site.

So what ways can this be improved?  Ideas for other applications for the tubing? 


  • Well, the images aren't coming through on my side. :(
  • Are you able to mould tube to a flatter shape?  seems like it would sit better under the skin than a round tube
  • Can you stop bullets more then one time yet?

    Ok seriously though nice work. Is this more of an impact armour or cut/bullet? Im sure its way to early but what about the blood getting to the skin over it issue that has been so widely talked about in the ancient massive thread?
  • I also would like to know the rationale behind the round shape. In the end would we form a mesh out of this stuff, and if so why not just where it as under armor? Biologically this complicates things like temperature regulation, and if you're using large sections of it you're probably going to hamper blood flow to your skin.

    Things like magnets and chips make sense for point-insertions but what is the long term goal here? 
  • I think this is more of a prototype than an end. My guess is that the tubing is, well, tubing, and that the piece of material they had was also cylindrical.

    Beyond that, while everyone is not down with the cylinder, I bet that a flat square would just bow under pressure. I bet an isosceles trapezoidal prism shape would work well...
  • I imagine the first, most realistic, goal of this project to be distribution/displacement of blunt-force impacts; we aren't going to be stopping bullets anytime soon, but surely we can deescalate from broken bones to wide-spread bruising and impact-point lacerations.

    The technicalities of how to achieve this are beyond me, but unless having skin is optional then you'll need to facilitate its needs. That means either
    A) perforating/'Swiss cheesing' the material in a manner that won't disrupt its geometric stability, and allows sufficient interaction between the skin and the rest of the body (circulatory system, CNS, extracellular matrix(?), etc).
    B) Devising a means of allowing these systems to adhere to/transcend the implant. I imagine this would complicate extraction of damaged implants.

    If skin is optional, and in an area like the forearm I imagine it could be, then armor is just the start.
  • forearm placement is perfect placement for this, as victims of violent murders (I.E. those who get beat up or lashed with a knife) usually have defensive wounds on their forearms as they try to block attacks. it's not bullet proof, but having kevlar in your chest would seriously hinder movement and your ability to breath. 

    however maybe the back of the neck would be a good place to put this? provided it didn't hinder movement.

    also maybe the shins would be good as well for offense? just a thought. call/text me next time you guys do this so i can see!!!!! 
  • @AlexSmith -- I'll see if I can shape it into something usefully flatter in the next couple days.  As an armour, the tests showed it worked well with about 3-4mm thickness.  However, if you're thinking of putting other things in it, I think it'd be easy enough to use a larger sized tubing, cut out a couple sections, then melt it back together. You'd end up with a lens-shaped piece that would protrude less.  The tubing we currently have is probably too small for this, but I may give it a go just to see.

    More on the topic of armour, I think a bunch of you have touched on this already, but ....  @glims is right about it already being a tube and that's why we used a tube, and that it's just a prototype at this point.  I think if the next step happens, it'd be with multiple short pieces to avoid the problems @FuzzyBlaa100 was talking about.  Maybe start with 2 pieces on either side of the bone in high impact areas.  A mesh might be a good idea -- mine is already starting to migrate a bit.  Areas used in muay thai are probably optimal locations, like @Jordygordy alluded to (forearms, shins, etc).  As such, the applications that @BioChassis mentioned are really the goal -- reducing bluntforce/severe cuts to bruises/minor cuts.

    With respect to non-armour ideas, having biocompatible wiring would be useful for a number of reasons, e.g. being able to place batteries further from dangerous sites (think of Warwick's MEA, or any head implants), or running to a transdermal port (@chironex, how's that going?), or using one power source for multiple implants (e.g. charge at one place but run to two 'headphones').  Basically, bulky stuff fits better in some spots on the body, but not necessarily where you want the implanted part to be functional.  As it stands, though, in the forearm is a pretty good spot for something of this size.  I've had zero problems and can already poke it pretty hard (not that I"m going to push it at this point ...)

    @Jordygordy we still haven't found time to switch it out for a new one yet.  I'll let you know as soon as I can!
  • @proteus, please. please. please let me know! im free monday evening and i want to see this badly hahaha 
  • I like this. Watching, excellent work. Go team awesome! ^^

    So probably you want to implant this stuff over and between the ribs. See the ribs/arms section of this site, I think they're the most practically achievable.
  • if you do any implants in the chest i recommend going on top of the ribs. sometimes we need to puncture you in between the ribs to let out air that is escaping your lungs or blood thats filling your chest cavity (air in the chest cavity can happen spontaneously to anyone and even though its rare I've seen happen a few times in school for no reason at all. Bleeding internally can be caused by blunt force trauma, such as a car accident or even just getting hit hard in the wrong spot) at the very least, avoid the 3-5 intercostal spaces. those are usually where we go when gotta put things in, and you don't want me shoving a big 14g needle right through the armour, because it probably will puncture, and it may or may not show up on an x-ray, meaning they won't know its there until it's too late. 
  • @AlexSmith I played around with making a flatter tube today.  Here are the results:


    It doesn't look great, but it's the first try.  Normally we'd at least dremel the edges to make them smoother, but you get the idea.  With a larger tube I think it could work better.
  • Proteus  yeah, I think that shape would sit much more comfortably under the skin. Of course, I'd want to smooth the joins before I'd implant something like that, but it's another step in the right direction. 
  • ah darn, thought we were going to be implanting corn starch lol
  • @Jordygordy
    Why not over lap several strans of armor so they can stretch with out exposing the ribs? Like armor plates with rubber bands holding them together....

    This is one of the most complicated projects in biohacking, you are making good progress.
  • ^ i was just thinking that infact.

    if theres any way to make the strands thinner, it should be possible to have a lot of them forming a "mesh" over something such as the ribs so it forms an impact shield but still grants a good amount of extra protection.
  • Here's another attempt at a flatter shape.  I only cut one side out, so it's not as pointy as the shitty looking one from a couple days ago but still won't protrude so much.  I also cleaned this one up.



    It survived 15 hits with the hammer (max force) before one of the ends split.  For whatever reason, I suck at making the ends (Cassox has that technique down).  The important thing is the long seam isn't the part that spit, so if I took a bit more time I think this could work well (and if it wasn't 40C in the lab I probably would)

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