Data Storage Implant - WIP



  • Yes, they did. Sorry for the delays for those of you keeping up with things. I've been extremely busy lately and haven't had time to get back to working on it. It is a decently high priority for me, I just haven't had time over the past couple weeks.

    I expect to have more regular availability starting this coming week, so I intend on getting back to it. I hope to have the first implementation of a Qi Charger sometime before next weekend. It may be a little bulkier than the final design though.

    Haven't abandoned the project, don't worry. Thanks for keeping up with things though.
  • Really stoked to see where this project goes. I've been thinking about doing something along the same lines of this but it seems like you're much more knowledgeable in this area than I am. :) 

    If it connects to wifi, though, wouldn't it (theoretically) be easy to hack? In my mind I guess something like this would be useful for files or data you don't want to keep somewhere accessible like a phone/computer, so it'd need to be pretty secure. Whoever was doing the hacking would have to know what they were looking for, of course, but hypothetically if these things gained popularity it wouldn't be that hard. Again, you seem much more knowledgable about this than I am, so I'm sorry if that's a stupid question haha.
  • It creates its own wifi network that you connect to in order to access the contents, so it's about as secure as any non-password protected device on a password protected network is. If you turn off the wifi when not using it (to conserve power) then it could only be hacked when you are using it. Again, the best protection from hacking is to simply not announce to everyone that it exists (your specific one that is). If no one knows about it then no one can hack it.

    Looks like I should be able to begin working on the Qi Charger tomorrow (Saturday) or Monday.
  • Alright, so I didn't have a whole lot of time today, but I did get a bit of work done with Qi Charger examinations. I determined that the circuitry powering the Qi charging receiver is larger than I thought. At least it is in the cheap ones I purchased, I imagine the expensive ones built in to smartphones are smaller. I may dismantle a Qi charging phone to find out if it's got a separate chip or if it's just built into the main board.

    I intend to experiment a bit with antenna sizes, to determine if a smaller receiving antenna still functions fine, I don't see why it wouldn't. (To be clear I intend to remove several of the loops from an antenna, not to squish the loops closer together.) I think a smaller antenna would be fine, I assume it'll result in a lower power input, but that should be fine as the biggest battery I think I'll end up using in the finished product will be 400 mAh. Probably going to use more like 200 mAh due to the size.

    The Qi controller chip is flexible, slightly, but I don't think it's flexible enough to say, fold in half in order to make it smaller, depending on the size of my antenna, the chip will likely still be smaller than or the same size as the antenna.

    I like pictures, pictures are good. I took pictures. I decided that I want to tear open the 1000 mA Charger I got to compare that with the 800 mA chargers and see if the chip or antenna are any bigger, then I'll post pictures. Unfortunately. That won't be tomorrow. I will be busy all day. So, Wednesday.

    Meanwhile, I'll do some research, but I'm curious to know if anyone has any thoughts on the following:

    If the device being has an input power regulator, then what harm would there be in directly connecting the Qi antenna to said device's original power input? That is, bypassing the Qi control board. I know that without the control board there's nothing that tells the charging pad to stop transmitting power when the device is fully charged, but I figure that may be an option for the implant since you'd never leave it another room and forget about it, as long as there's some method to tell the user that the device is fully charged and the charger can be disconnected.
  • awesome work love hearing updates like this, as for the last i think for safety and trying to convince alot of people to get something like this keep the power regulator 
  • edited November 2016
    I was talking to one of the guys from Grindhouse about their Qi Charger. Here is the reference link that they sent me for a super small Qi receiver circuit. You'll still have to figure out the coil, but this should at least get you started.

    Let us know how the coil thing goes. They have always held a mysticism for me.
  • @ChrisBot Thanks for that. Very useful. Seeing as how I'm not building this entirely from the ground up (the computer circuits and everything are part of a completed, mass produced, consumer product) I think I'm going to do some experimenting first, I'd like to think that the already built in power regulator could safely receive poorly regulated power as long as the input limit was your standard USB grade power, typically 5 V. The main downside to removing the Qi control board, which is actually bigger than the device's computer board, which does way more, would be that the power transmitter Pad wouldn't know when to stop transmitting power. So if the power isn't being absorbed by the battery, due to being full, (which is what would happen, it wouldn't overcharge the battery) it would cause the receiver coil to heat up rapidly. Which is obviously undesirable. I want to determine if charging that way and having some mechanism to direct the user to remove the charging pad would be doable. If not, I'll go with downsizing the Qi receiver circuit.
  • If I end up incorporating an Arduino Gemma into the final design, there'll be plenty of room for the Qi circuit. The use of the Gemma would be for providing mild additional feedback with a couple extra LEDs and maybe an extra button. It would also handle monitoring the battery for chemical leaks, expansion, and overly high temperatures.

    Might be time to consider implant sites. This project is starting to get slightly bigger than I originally intended. Is a 1" x 3" x 0.5" device too big to implant? That's currently how big it would be (post biocoating). I'd like to get it smaller, down to 0.75" x 2.5" x 0.3". But I doubt I can get it smaller than that and still have useful battery life time beyond 20 minutes or so. (I'll mention I've not yet experimented with different size batteries, so I may be able to do longer than that on a tiny battery. Which may negate that issue.)
  • edited November 2016
    You may have answered some of these questions before, so I apologize in advance.

    Does the device you have right now have a wireless charging circuit, or are you going to add that? I am not sure if I am interpreting this correctly, but you need to keep that special receiver circuit if you want wirelessly charge the device. 

    I also wouldn't worry about the coil heating up. If you think about wirelessly charging a phone, it doesn't really heat up when it is done charging. The lipo charging circuit will continuously trickle charge the battery once it is full. 

    Also, just a silly thought. If the coil or the battery does start to heat up or expand, you will probably be able to feel it so there might not be a need for another system to monitor such things. It looks like the control board may even be monitoring temperature of the battery as well. See how there is the 3rd wire (the white one) connecting the battery to the board? That normally indicates such a functionality. 

    Does the device have some sort of LED that turns on when the battery is low?

    Would you mind drawing some diagrams of what the final system may look like? (With and/or without the gemma)
  • @ChrisBot Some have been, no big deal though. Here's answers in no particular order (though mostly reverse order as I scrolled back up one question at a time while writing my answers.)
    Diagrams. Possibly. But not until I have a completed prototype with all the hardware bits wired in. (It's easier for me to physically experiment with building something than to do diagrams first, unless you know of some software capable of simulating everything so that I can do my experimenting with the diagrams.)
    The LED does not appear to turn on if the battery is low, but I don't know for sure, I never drained it below 10% in my testing. I'll make a mental note to do so.
    I was thinking the cool may heat up if the Qi circuit is removed. I am opposed to removing it, but thought I might try since it would save a ton of potential space.
    As for feeling the battery heat up, you could potentially, the purpose of the Gemma is mostly for diagnosis in the event of a problem. If the battery malfunctioned, is poorly charged and can't power on, etc... so you can determine why the device may not be working without surgically removing it.
    It does not have built in wireless charging. Adding that. I fully believe the built in computer has capabilities to determine battery issues, but it has no way to relay said issues to the user, hence the Gemma addition. Again, that's sort of a side idea. It's something I want to add if possible, but only if I can get it to fit into the space requirement. Since it's implanted, it's important that it stay small.
  • @Jupiter
    Have you looked at Logism?
  • Hadn't heard of it before. Have now. Thanks for that. It's handy.
  • The Gemma is way to large. It's designed for clothing. It has what 4 pins? You should try the aduino pro mini. Its smaller than the storage drive. Plus it has about 15 output pins. And it's currently about $10. Should stack right on top of the existing storage chip no problem.
  • so I have been fully sucked into this now and I cant stop thinking about it. I'm beginning to wonder if using the original board is even a good idea. From my admittedly basic knowledge of Arduino I know its possible to Read and Wright data to a SD card and to connect to WiFi with breakout boards. It should stand to reason that you could replace the original board with a Arduino. This would far simplify the entire device. You could then add the battery monitor quite easily. Admittedly the code would be a entire different beast to deal with. I think you could get it down to a size in the range of 1" by 1.5". That should fit in a forearm quite well.
  • @Ryderbike1 The teensy 3.5 has a built in sd card reader, and is... teensy. its a bit on the longer side, at around 2.5" with an sd card in it, but its only 0.7" across and .1" thick.

    However, the problem with an arduino based system is that you probably can't access the sd card with a regular file manager wirelessly.

  • Sorry for my absence everyone. Holidays. Busy. Back to working on things now. Let me take a moment to address a few comments.

    I'm open to attempting to replace the original board with an arduino chip. I do agree the Gemma is less than ideal (it has 6 pins by the way as I recall, though it's been a little while since I looked at it).

    The Arduino Pro Mini and the Teensy... both sound fine. I have very little knowledge of Arduino programming so any such implementation would potentially take a while. But I will look into it soon (not going to try to say when for anything, as my previous time estimates have been a little off). I will say that (due to power levels) the Arduino would be better equipped to run and charge the battery from a Qi charger.

    Recently I decided that if I were to use the original board I would remove the USB A male connector to save space. Since it's not useful once implanted.

    About accessing the data from the Arduino remotely. I'd like that since it would present a few options. I'd probably attempt to handle an FTP server and a tiny web server to distribute the files. I would probably also attempt to enable saving an SSID and password to the Arduino to allow it to connect to an existing wifi network so you could access the data without disconnecting your phone, tablet, or other computer from the internet, obviously it would switch to hosting its own network when the saved network wasn't available.

    In case it wasn't clear, the current board doesn't support accessing data from a standard file manager, only via the onboard web server.

    Now I should ask, anyone have Arduino experience of any sort? Particularly the programming area?

    As far as my silence. I do want to continue work on the project, however, I don't have a lot of free time these days to work on much anything, and admittedly the project isn't a super high priority for me. I do have the money to purchase materials and parts to build things, what I lack is time to fully implement everything. Especially if there'll be coding involved. So, if anyone else is able to contribute, that would be wonderful.
  • i really wish i could help with this but im shite at programming 
  • If you put together a list of features and hardware you have in mind, I could work on some of the code. Personally, I wouldn't worry about software too much until you have the hardware more or less locked down. There are lots of things that can go wrong with hardware that can be fixed via code. I haven't messed around with FTP on arduino before, but it looks like others have made libraries for it that could be useful.
  • Also, take a look at the Adafruit HUZZAH. Slap an sd card slot on that baby, and you're good to go.
  • I'm not an expert and maybe this just is not what I think it is, but what about RTX41XX WiFi Module?
  • @Jackalopiate That actually looks like a solid idea. I'd probably attempt to pair it with for my initial version. Suddenly this sounds slightly more doable. It appears you have more knowledge about Arduino and Arduino compatible things than I do. From what I read the Huzzah appears to be self sufficient, not just an add on for a larger board. Could that, and the SD card board I linked be used together as the only hardware (aside of course from the battery and wireless charging chip). If so, I'll go ahead and order those and see if I can connect them all. Thinking about it, there's probably already some open source code libraries out there to handle FTP, possibly a web server, and the SD Card, so I may not have as much coding to do as I previously thought.
  • edited January 2017

    Jupiter It's all about knowing how to use google, honestly. If you asked me to make something like this a few months ago, I would have had no idea where to start. Once you have an idea for a project the first step is to research the fuck out of it. for starters, just google keywords about the project (Arduino ftp, arduino wireless data storage, arduino webserver), and read everything you can that's relevant. If there's something in an article or post that you don't quite understand, google that shit too (middle mouse click is my best friend, it opens links in new tabs so you can look back at your original page easily to cross reference).

    One of the rules of thumb that I have for Arduino/open source projects is that almost always someone somewhere has had the same idea before. Maybe not your specific idea, but someone probably came up with the core project and posted their work somewhere.

    Research is key when you are first starting out with electronics (or any hobby/skill/profession). The amount of resources available to you out there are tremendous as long as you have your Google-Fu down. 

    Something that I have learned within the last few months of Arduino tinkering (I had barely touched this stuff before I got my xNT implant) is that while starting on a project from scratch with no prior knowledge may seem daunting, it starts to seem less and less so once you break it down into it's individual concepts.

    Anyway, I'm actually pretty interested in this project now, maybe not as an implant, but it the form factor is small enough to carry in my pocket or wear as a necklace, I could totally get behind this. I'm going to do a bit more research and order some parts myself and see what I can do, I'd love to collaborate on this with you!
  • @Jupiter Keep in mind that you are going to need an Arduino to programm the Huzzah in the first place. The inbuilt ESP might be really great for this kind of stuff, but is quite annoying to manage. A good thing I discovered with this ESP is that you don't have to choose between AP and Client mode for WiFi, it can somehow do both at the same time without any problems. After connecting battery, sd card and qi module you could use the spare pins for diagnostics quite well by displaying status of the device on a webpage using an inbuilt webserver. That shouldn't be too complicated.
    Something that might be a problem is the size of the sd card. Depending ón the libraries you use it might only support 32 or 64 gigabytes. But if the software should support larger sizes, 200gb micro sds are actually not that expensive at ~80 bucks. And, depending on your budget, there're also 500gb cards available, quite expenisve though...
  • I've been thinking and researching ideas around storage implants. Using these arduino boards makes it relatively big. If we could get rid of them it would be a huge size reduction.

    These folks hacked a microSD. Inside they've got a microcontroller, for reasons explained in the article. If you could hook one of those up to an NFC transmitter, like they do with the heart rate monitor HERE, then you could get a physically small, wireless storage device. Obviously the NFC isn't as fast as wifi, or even bluetooth, but the size difference is huge, as is not having a battery.

    The code side seems like it would be the main impediment.
  • microSD cards have pretty high power demands. Powering it exclusively over NFC might be a bit of a challenge. But then what good is a 32GB microSD card when the interface is so slow that you need an entire week to (24/7) to read/write it completely.
  • The more I research this stuff the more I realize that what we really need is new standards for these things. The tech is all there, it's just not set up to work easily. Standards would make a huge difference.
  • edited March 2017
    @Cathasach, I totally agree. However this does come to mind...
  • I think we'd need a single standard for implants before that became an issue. One can only hope they get so popular that proliferation of standards becomes a problem.
  • Hi! So... I am very sure that I posted a message indicating I had become increasingly unavailable to work on my little project here. I see it never showed up. And that some minor discussion continued in my absence.

    I now have more time available. Not a ton, but enough to spend at least a few hours a week on physically doing things, and a few more that I can be on my phone or tablet doing research for things.

    I know that people mentioned Arduino boards that could actually be smaller than what I already have, I looked. I really don't believe that once you add the wifi and sd card hardware, it would be smaller.

    For the time being, power is still the biggest issue. I am very strongly opposed to kinectic charging (by moving, like those flashlights that you shake to charge), mostly because I know that I don't move enough for that to work. Well, certainly not something small and repetitive like walking.

    My current thought is that maybe... on the go access isn't necessary. Perhaps just a small (tiny) battery designed to last a few minutes in case of signal interruptions, so that data can properly be written before a power loss, and then requiring a Qi Charger be present in order to access data. More like a vault at that point. Not just increased storage for your mobile devices on the go. Which is what I originally intended.

    Oh, and a small reed switch to replace the physical button on the device, to turn it on. Optimally it's thin enough to be placed in the upper arm, so it can be covered by a sleeve easily. And the Qi charger is in an armband that you plug in and wear when you want to access the data, though any charger could be used, else there's not really a point in having the device implanted at all is there.

    What do you guys think about that?
    I may not respond quickly, I need to catch up on the rest of the activity in the forums since I've been away. I shall return. No no no. Better exit line...

    I'll be back.
  • im excited to see this project go on, this is something i would love to get. i thought it would be cool to store files in my body, my nfc chip is not big enough for that. this would be something awesome 
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