Augmented (surgical) smartphone-type device implanted into the forearm, powered by the human body.

This is a cross-post that I made on reddit, and the original material was written before I was introduced to this great forum, but it led to me being here and gaining much more knowledge. Before I get into the full details, I will provide some helpful links that popped up in the other comments that you can consider while reading this...    <--- this link details an implantable device that generated power from a rat, a test in mammals after it had been used (a similar device) in other creatures. This device was very small and able to power an LED and a temperature sensor, but this was also in 2012 and has likely made exponential gains since then. I do see a lot of projects here rely on Qi charging. Perhaps some R&D into similar technology would take us much closer to the true goal here. 
This article is VERY MISLEADING. Similar (and better) things have been done before this guy. The only true marvel here is the staggering SIZE of this implant. Ignore everything else in the article because it is a trash and sensationalist piece, but do pay attention to the pictures and how large this implant actually was...

Now, on to the full body of my post  (there is a continuation below, the original was too long for a single post):

I have wanted something like this for some time and think that the technology might be progressing at a rapid enough pace that a solution should become available in the near future. Before I discuss why a person might want or need this type of device implanted into them, let me detail what some of the obvious limitations are.

Pulling power directly from the human body is not a very reliable way to power such a device. That would obviously need to be addressed, but could be supplemented with further augmentations to harness more kinetic energy or even having solar cells implanted on docking-type "ports" elsewhere on the epidermis. Solutions in this one particular area are the ones that I see requiring the most innovation.

Second, the design for the actual implementing of the device onto the forearm (either on the top or the bottom, or even both) would benefit from being modular and requiring very little invasive surgery. This would allow for similarly sized electronics to later be "upgraded" into the slots provided. The device that suffices today might be sorely outdated in a couple years time... rather than a bad tattoo that one regrets with old age, it would be best if the device here could constantly change with the times.

Really, the prime implant is more the electronic components that allow for interfacing with the human biological systems on a surgical level and that take advantage of whatever power and other things can be drawn from the human body, with more of a "skeleton" for then adding components. In an ideal future, this may later function as a two-way street, allowing the gathering of data and other senses through the device, rather than the device just being a parasitic attachment onto the human organism.

The internal wiring that may connect the device on the arm with solar powered cells on the corresponding arm or from the top of the cranium down through to the actual device would likely be imperative in getting such a device functioning properly with the limits of the technology available today. Any other type of mechanism that could somehow harness power when there are no physical "charging" abilities present would need to be heavily considered.

Why would you want or need this device? Imagine it may be easier for some of you to contemplate a dystopian future where ready access to charging accessories and running power is not an option, or being thrust into conditions and environments where there does not happen to just be a wall "power outlet" within conceivable range or availability. In these extreme conditions, even extra batteries may be something that are in short supply or unavailable, making the device to perfection would require that it NEVER relies on external supplements or inputs, only what it can harness naturally. Even the solar powered cells should be scrutinized for their ability only to provide EXTRA power or function, rather than being a crutch that the system relies upon, because low-light conditions or inability to access the sun for long periods of time may be fairly normal when utilizing this device.

How did I come up with this idea? I was subjected to many years in federal prison in the United States. During that time, I longed for internet access and other basic, arguably human rights that technology can provide. I seen on numerous occasions that some prisoners had subdermal implants and other body modifications that the prison staff was NOT allowed to interfere with (none of them had the proper requisite certifications or training to safely remove such devices and it was determined on more than one occasion that a surgeon would be required to remove any such body modifications... something they were unwilling to transport a prisoner for, or pay for, as there are no current protocols for handling said situations and since it falls under a medical procedure, could easily be denied by the prisoner and not forced upon them).



  • edited April 2017

    That is where the seedling for this idea came from, as I've always been into transhumanism. God forbid I am ever kidnapped and imprisoned by my government again, but you never know in the prison-industrial complex of a society that we live in when people with riot gear will break down your door and haul you off to serve the rest of your life in prison for some minor or fabricated infraction.

    The more I pondered on the device, the more problems I seen with it, but also the more potential. If the device works for a prisoner who may be in solitary confinement for some period of time, why could it not also benefit those exploring harsh climes, or complex cave systems and tunnels? If it benefits even those individuals, what about people who have just survived a cataclysmic, world-ending event? The space required to store the entire contents of much of the legacy internet (Wikipedia, mainly), a large library of music and other entertainment as well as useful applications and tools would be negligible even with the technology of 5 years ago.

    If anybody has seen a similar device, please let me know. If a person has not tried such a technology before, I would not mind going through some of the associated risks (rejection, etc.) for trying such an implanted "full function" device out.

    Really the key thing that I think presents itself here is, how much interfacing can be done through the human biological organism and low profile "smart" technology available today? Is the information stream able to function both ways? If not, are there hacks and other things that could equate say, me closing two particular fingers on the opposite hand together in a certain way with sensors implanted in them and run to the device, into useful functions or commands for the device?

    Any comments and/or criticism, advice and links would be much valued and appreciated!

    (Sorry for the two part post, the original was too long)

  • First thing- the folks from Grindhouse regularly post here, I'm pretty sure if you look through the older discussions you'll find a thread on the Circadia.

    Currently there is no way to wire a device directly to the brain.  Give it a decade though, and there may be something commercially viable, according to Elon Musk.  Here's a 39,000 word article on his new company that's dedicate to doing that.

    Drawing energy from the glucose in blood is "possible".  There is an array of decives currently being researched called enzymatic biofuel cells.  They are a long way from being optimized for use in the human body, though that is an eventual goal of most research teams.  

    There are all kinds of issues with putting large implants within your skin, and it blocks too much radiation for solar panels to be effective.  Installing devices below the skin works to an extent, this article shows the areas in the arms where the perforator veins and arteries provide blood flow to the skin, any large implant has to be designed to work around them.

    Interacting directly with an implant is difficult without an extrenal receiver/transmitter such as a smartphone or computer. You could, theoretically design a complex reed switch array, but it'd be rather clumsy, and useless for browsing the internet.

    I'm sure in looking into this you saw the "Digital Tattoo Interface" from Jim Mielke that was hyped back in 2008-2009.  As far as I've ever been able to tell, it's simply a paper concept with no working prototype or actual testing ever having been done.
  • Yeah! Great post man, a lot of that is a bit of stuff I've been exposed to before.

    I wonder then, for the more immediate future, if for the sole reason of not being able to have the technology removed and still have the same basic purpose, if a series of piercings and other body modifications that are already known to exist could be employed as a "docking" system for a device that cannot otherwise easily be removed, or even a type of "locking" arm band that would function much the same way but be virtually impossible for anybody besides the wearer to decide to remove.

    That said, then, there may be some of the kinetic energy options available, especially if you were willing to expend a lot of kinetic energy for very minimal usage of the device(s). 

    I'd hate to think of what kind of problems might happen though when you have something in close contact with a large portion of your skin for prolonged periods of time, but it might be more workable for the near future. Now the area I have to research is more in the kinetic energy realm, of which I'm not sure that would be the best methodology.

    Are you familiar with any kind of "external fueling/energy" systems that might also be able to be mounted or supplanted on such a system? Possibly an energy generating device that you "feed" with things like sugar water, or similar things as a human might eat or be able to easily find in their environment... (such a device might not be as compact).

    I've read a lot into the Elon Musk line of thinking with the interfacing and how long of a way that is off.

    I actually had a dream/idea last night, once I started thinking of a type of "arm case", that would encompass the forearm almost entirely for such a device, possibly interlocking through mechanisms not easily disabled, and possibly further secured through piercings; either way, there may be a VERY EASY way right now to sense the tendons on the underside near the wrist, as they create a good deal of movement and this likely could be pressure mapped with a few simple algorithms to tell what the fingers are doing based on the movement of the tendons.

    A smaller "bracelet" could be on the other arm/hand to provide similar sensory data, wirelessly, or by physically running a connection up the arm, across the back, and back down to the other device. 

    It is actually fairly intuitive of an idea and I've not seen ANY consumer technology that attempts to take advantage of the information possibly provided by the tendons in the wrist/arm to predict or describe what the fingers are doing on each hand. You would think the prevalence of virtual reality right now might lead to some developments like this, as it would serve to be much less intrusive and more ergonomic than strange finger pads or "buttons".

    Even this idea though heavily stems from many dreams I've had during my life where moving my fingers in certain configurations could cause me to do things. I attribute this to growing up playing many video games and having a lot of dreams where my brain tries to process video game-like environments and scenarios and explain why it can somehow remember my fingers being able to control much more than they typically can. 

    So maybe this entire idea will fizzle out and I'll end up working on some kind of "tendon sensing" technology that could have much wider adaptation and usage for the average person, but later be taken advantage of by biohackers, as it is a relatively untapped mechanical source of information that may prove to end up being fairly detailed and comprehensive in scope.

    I may already be able to order some of these working models and start to play with the software side, as it seems the idea has been thought out before and already developed to a much greater degree than I had imagined.
  • Hi 666IGMA , welcome to the forum.

    you may want to dig through the early days of this forum as many of your ideas have been discussed extensively. Including modular implant approaches, cabling, transdermals, power storage and supply, solar cells, glucose cells, kinetic energy harvesting, mounting systems and neural interfaces.

    None of those things are easy, each has challenges, pro's and cons. I highly recommend to quickly skim over every discussions title of this forum (about 1600) and cherry pick the ones that might sound interesting. You can learn a whole lot.
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