Larger Invisible Implants and Useless Bones

I just had a thought, my dad had the lower (closest to hand) 2-3 inches of the smaller bone in his forearm removed due to having developed a tumor on it, or in it... something... the bone itself was swelling, it was a bit freakish looking, anyways...

Apparently (according to licensed medical professionals) that bone does very little for holding weight, so it's somewhat useless structurally. That got me thinking just now (he had it removed years ago) that there may be a few other bones that are similarly useless (I know bones generally contain useful things in them, but I'm talking strictly structurally here, I'm not suggesting we replace all the bones).

One could (hypothetically) replace some bones, like the forearm bone, with a large implant, that could (for the most part) be unseen from the outside. It could be custom shaped to match the bone it's replacing and could contain things to monitor blood (sugar levels, pressure, pulse rate), store data (digitally), heck you could probably find a way to put a speaker into it (it'd be fairly quiet and I don't think you could do a microphone, so the uses would be a bit limited, but you could).

Assuming we had said implants in an experimental phase, would anyone consider replacing a perfectly good bone for such a large implant?

Any other comments on the idea? It's a large step from magnets to this.


  • Where did you read that it does very little? Asuming you are talking about the Ulna or Radius, both are very important in allowing your wrist to rotate. I suppose one of them may carry more of the load than the other, but their function is still important.

    Either way, we easily can and already do make artificial bones that are stronger than original. There isn't any real reason you couldn't replace your bone with some type of implant.
  • It was my dad's word on what the specialist doctor said about it. I'm afraid I can't link you that but I'm sure you can find it somewhere. Again, I'm aware it's not entirely useless. Point is that replacing it is more feasible than a large implant that bulges the skin.

    I'm aware we can do that, partially why I brought it up. Good luck getting someone to do the surgery, but...

    Who would be willing to actually replace a perfectly good bone and still possibly risk rejection, which I assume is a very real possibility with something that large in that position, though anti-rejection treatments have improved, it's not perfect.

    The whole post was partially intended merely to document and share a bit of information I had about said bones that maybe no one else had considered.
  • edited October 2016
    I kind of can see what this is all about. The rotation of the wrist is more reliant on the proximal radio-ulnar joint rather than the distal, and that's where the pronator teres does the work. And the supinator is also proximal as well.

    That said, I'm not sure how much actual "space" that would get you. Also, this sounds like a real big job, requiring intense orthopedic surgical skills that's way beyond the current abilities of this community complete with risks involved, so while a possible idea no something that can be feasibly done by us.
  • Aside from the massive risk I honestly don't think this is the worst idea we ever had.... A body modder will not be able to do something like this....
  • How about getting some ribs replaced with titanium-coated gadets or something like that? Ribs are smaller bones that are easy to access and are simple in their function...
  • It's not just about access or function but the fact that you're taking out a bone or part of a bone which means you have to navigate through the different layers of the body, including the complex macular structures, along with the risk of infection. It's going to need a lot of skill (at least the skills of an orthopedic surgeon if not the skills of the top surgeons in the world) to pull off.
  • I just want to add if you replace your chest bones (can't think of the name right now..breast plate and ribs) with metal you may not be able to have CPR and I could see issues with aed.
  • @Meanderpaul Unless they self-defribillate... maybe thinking a decade too far in advance.

    @JohnDoe Yeah, it was sort of a hypothetical, wasn't planning on it for anything anytime soon. I was just thinking that implants that don't bulge the skin look sexier (more specifically they don't "look" at all). Though I will say it's all probably at least 10 years too soon.

    @Chaphasilor I'all agree, ribs would probably be easier to replace, but not as useful I don't think. Unless you're looking for bullet proof... bullet proofness.
  • @Jupiter
    Lemey (RIP) had a defibrillator implanted inside him there at the end.
    I also have files on my computer that are (untested) prosthetic arms and legs incase I lose mine in a wreck or something.... (Strange phobia I know.) I may redesign this to have stashes for things like battery's and what not in the bones would also cut costs do to less carbon being needed.
  • @jupiter That wouldn't be as far in the future as you think, a pacemaker is basicly that which is also an implant.

    As for bulletproof by doing that no just no. If you replace the rib with a metal replica and if it does get hit instead of going between the ribs where there is nothing that bullet has to go someplace. Bullets either ricochet or fragment. And even if it doesn't fragment like most do you still will have a bullet inside you. Mushrooming doesn't really work in this situation because it needs to hit a flat surface dead on otherwise it will ricochet.

    While laying in bed I also realize the amount my chest actually rises while breathing which is something you will possibly lose and who knows how heavy your chest could become.

    I do think the new impact material @proteus and @cassox has would make a good in between for the ribs.
  • I was aware of implantable difibrillators and (personally) considered that one of the greatest modern medical implants available. What I meant about the whole decade in advance part was more the task of replacing a bone with an implant designed to perform one or more tasks in addition to the structural support provided by the bone.

    Are these prosthetics your own design? Would now be a good time to throw in any of my research regarding developing BCI tech? There's actually some pretty good progress being made. Reading thoughts that is, not creating thoughts. I've not considered going so far as to replace an entire limb as long as it's still good (though I have sometimes wished I had lost a limb in some accident ages ago, that I was over it, so now I could have some particularly fancy one made up, or at least try to).

    Most of my research hasn't been specifically in regards to prosthetics, but it could certainly be applied. It'd be better suited for mentally controlling things that you would otherwise control with your arm, like light switches, tv remotes, even your phone or desktop computer.
  • That's what's my interest started, a EEG guitar I have found better and safer ways to go about doing it then EEG. Which I get the impression that you are new this no?(no magnets RFID nothing)
  • edited October 2016
    @Meaderpaul: Not recommending replacing ribs and sternum with metal or anything, but the reason why the sternum and the ribs are able to move up and down during breathing is due to the way they join the vertebrae (the rubs) and each other, not really due to what they are make up of.

    Also, just a reminder that bone is actually quite tough (for its weight) and the reason why we can move is mostly due to joints rather than the flexibility of bone itself.

    That said, bone-metal interface is notorious for loosening due to an effect called stress shielding and it's something that orthopedic implant makers struggle with. So unless we can come with something better than say a hip replacement, well...
  • @Jupiter I've also thought about thought-controlling, it's been around for quite some time already, just look at the upload date of the video.
    I maily thought about using this to rotate 3D objects or toggle switches. If you could make the mind-reading "hat" a bit smaller, you could just wear it under a beanie and it would be pretty much invisible...
  • I'm not saying the bones flexible or weak but rather the weight of the replacement would prohibit the movement. Or even simply mounting it would.
  • @chaphasilor those have been around for a while now and are actually smaller then the black one in the video now.

    I know the original was bulky and had lots of issues connecting to the computer and even connecting on the head. (I had one) my father used it a few time and was actually extremely good with it using it like a mouse but he preferred playing one game with it which was lifting an X wing out of the swamp in Star Wars.

    They are emotiv head sets and I think it's on v2-3 but look like they corrected some of the issues like contact with the skull by switching to a dry contact. I haven't used anything but the v1.

    I wouldn't mind trying them again but if you want something cheaper to dick around with there is a game you can get where you try and guide a ball through hoops and the fans levitate the ball and your headset/brain/what ever it reads, dictates the height the ball is lifted with the fans.
  • @Meanderpaul What exactly do you mean by "cheaper"? I'm going to need the device anyways no matter what game, or am I wrong there?

    OK so that's the game one it's 60ish instead of hundreds like the emotiv

    It costs a fraction of the price but probably works like crap lol.
  • Yeah I don't think this is really an option, just watch the trailer O.o
    This has nothing to do with science, this is just a toy!

    But with the $299 price tag I'm probably just going to keep fantasising about it : /
  • Like I said cheap toy lol the emotivs are pretty fun to mess with and actually 299 is WAY less then their v1 that I got mine was about 500.
  • edited October 2016
    The video clearly had him using the accelerometer most of the time, to track head movements. Not thought patterns. But, regardless. I've always figured those were a bit like the Myo Armband and they look cool, but then you find out they only recognize a small number of pre selected thoughts and that they're actually fairly limited.

    I was thinking more specifically of today's technology allowing the use of an fMRI machine (coupled with an EEG reader) to read specific images (and virtually any number) from the brain. Presumably requiring some calibration tests to be of any practical use right now. Let me go find a link...

    Here's a link:
    EDIT: You'll have to copy and paste that link, it came out only partially hyperlinked.

    There's some less technical, easier to read but less informative, information on Wikipedia as well: Couldn't find that page, I know I have it around here somewhere it was that page which led to all my other research I did on developing technologies in the area.

    @JohnDoe I am somewhat new to this, yes. If you were talking to me there.
  • Okay if you want to look hard into implants I suggest you start with learning how to get things sterile and keep them clean. Then move on to coatings, then start thinking about implants....
  • IvoTheSquire 
    Doctor's are making strides into issues of titanium implants and stress shielding by using metal foam. It can be tailored to match nearby bone density and since it is porous nearby bone and blood vessels can penetrate and integrate with the structure.

    Also more into the realms of fantasy they are using metal foam as a potential body armor. A quick video check on YouTube shows what happens when a bullet strikes the foam, its entertaining to watch.
  • @meaderpaul: Depends on what metal you use. People have been using knee implants for a while and there hasn't been a case (that I hear of) that it was heavy enough to cause mobility problems. Esp since muscles adapt pretty well.

    @Unlucky_Strike: Oh yeah, I forgot that. Have they manage to mass produce those yet? Because 6 years ago when I learnt about them they are still in the "I discovered this in an experiment stage" and didn't follow it since.
  • @JohnDoe I am also looking into the details of actually putting something in implant form, but I figure it varies enough that starting with the idea and then picking specific coatings and implant methods is best. Since I can't say "that's a good coating" and then go design an implant around a coating. All that said, the whole topic was a bit hypothetical, I have no plans to design a bone replacing implant myself anytime soon. My current focus is on smaller things, data storage mostly, but I do also want some sort of audio implant. Undecided about the form it should take though, right now I think some sort of tooth implant would be most practical, but you can't just undo a tooth implant, whereas any traditional under-skin implant could be removed if it broke.
  • That's a smart and rational approach. I think a good starting point would be something you could bite down on to....
  • Actually, removing and replacing, say, a single distal phalanx in the hand (the bone in the tip of the finger) doesn't seem extraordinarily far-fetched. As far as I can tell hip replacements are way more complicated and those are performed all the time.
  • That's not a lot of space to keep something though. The distal phalanges isn't exactly very big.
  • Maybe not, but it still gives a lot more room to work than a typical subdermal, especially given the uptick in prevalence of microcomputing. I can see having something like a "micro-Circadia" or even just a 32 gig flashdrive that could communicate wirelessly with a phone or computer.
  • If it's in the finger tip, I'd be curious to see if a magnetic bone would work as a sensing magnet. H can its probably work as a gripping magnet too (for small things) at that size.
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