Subdermal Armor



  • Honestly if I shoot something I prefer that the bullet be stopped by what I shot. because its not the bullet that kills you is the trauma of having something slammed in to you at ridiculous speeds. implanting ballistic armor would only aid in getting yourself killed. set that aside for a second and think about what happens if you get shot your implanted armor stops the bullet and like superman your somehow not extra dead. you have still been shot and now have a gaping blowout of flesh  that is torn to ribbons and possibly cauterized from the heat of the bullet against it so your basically doomed to bleed out like someone implanted a garden hose in you. 

    also armor design is usually began with a "I would like to protect X from Y" so if you want to really make an implantable armor this is likely the best place to start.  I could defiantly see an implant being viable in at least two situations. 

    1: protecting the heart from bullets and knives,  doing something like grafting the ribs together with titanium like mentioned above would make sense for protect just the heart because a bullet through the heart is a kill shot no matter what where a bullet through the torso, so long as it passes through and through, is a painful yet completely survivable scenario. 

    2: some sort of armor under the skin protecting the brain. for the same reason as the heart. 

    often times getting shot is not particularly lethal, its all about shot placement and the characteristics of the load being fired.  

    also the majority of bullet proof vests provide no protection against being stabbed. knowing that I can easily provide my self with some sort for protection from bullets by going to the back room and putting it on. I would be much more interested in a non-obtrusive layer that provides protection from stabbing that could go under it.  
  • That's an interesting approach I don't believe we've considered before. 

    Making grafting skull plates out of titanium might be viable. Kind of like Wolverine's adamantium skull.
  • Yay! my favourite thread returns!
    So, grafting ribs together... how do we suggest that we maintain the flexibitly and sweety bendy action that having the ribs as sperate entities tend to provide us?  Also, internal plates run in to the isolation issues discussed at length earlier in the thread.

    Implanted armor on the skull will not prevent the tremdous blunt force trauma that would cause concusion and probably internal trauma to the brain leading to death. Let us not forget that bones are alive adn require love and attention from the surrounding areas. The whole coating the bones in metal thing would lead to bone death.

    Internal protection from bullets is just not currently possible without a complete redesign of the human body. Each step requires a handful of addition steps to avoid issues and as support. And each of those requires another handful.

    This 'project' needs to be broken down into its component parts.On the inital level, we probaby have things like adjusting temperature damage to cell membranes without losing sensitivity or increaing the Youngs modulaos of phospholipid bilayers while mainting optimal liposome functionality. Or you go the cyborg route and just scrap skin al together, which turns into a whole 'nother pile of issues, despite vita-more's enthusiasm.... Then you have bones, tissue, blood and clotting, impact damage, etc. Each of these needs to be broken down as well.

    The tl;dr here is: Subdermal armour, or really any type of internalized bullet proof system, is climbing a mountain. Lets brainstorm some ideas on how to put laces into the boots. Unless we can focus on the intergral parts that comprise these big ideas, we're no better than the armchairs tranhumanists.
  • That's one thing I was wondering about with the skull plating. If you totally replaced certain portions of the bone in the skull, would you still run into the isolation issues? Does the bone serve as a sort of substrate for tissue?
  • edited October 2014
    On "Lacing the boots", How 'bout we start with the isolation issue first? 

    Major Questions
    • When do we start seeing isolation in sub-dermal implants (in terms of square centimeters)
    • What kinds of materials and material forms minimize the effect?
    • Are there any ways of artificially combating isolation via chemical, mechanical, or electrical processes? 

  • @glims, you point out some very valid issues, honestly as humans we have some pretty stellar armor already built in, and augmenting it with additional protection is only really needed on a case by case basis and you usually know when you are stepping in to a situation where you are going to need that extra protection. 

    I honestly think that if there is to be any serious discussion of subdermal armor someone has to propose what they would like to protect and what they want to protect it from. 
  • I think initially in this thread, gunshots were discussed. Then we shifted a little sideways toward knife wounds. However, I believe ballistics is what everyone keeps coming back to.

    Regardless, at the core level, laces level, the issues that should be discussed are still the same. Breaking down any of the many ways that physical trauma can be acerted to the degree being hoped for here require core level alterations that are both broad and ubiquitous. 

    I think fcusing on isolation issues will probably be positive in general for many activites people wish for. However it may push a boot through this particular concept. I stand by my assertation that subdermal armour, as put forth in this thread, is not feasible until a slew of other issues are addressed. Isolation issues should be it's own thread. If we discuss every issue in this conceptual framework of "impantable armour" this thread will bloat larger than it already has.

    This is one of those issues where the solutions for the problems discussed are not flashy or immediate. I also think that focusing on how to break down large problems into a series of smaller steps outside of pure engineering or code (which is what everyone here seems to be good at) would probably be good for us all in the long run.
  • Why not go with a very localized region? An 8 inch long rod of metal positioned and attached to the skeletal system in a clever way at the distal antebrachial would allow a person to block a swung bat and would allow only superficial cuts when blocking a knife. You'd also be able to strike with it as well. I mean sure, you're going to destroy the overlaying skin but it's better than taking a bat to the cranium.
  • @Cassox this is something I've thought about too, a couple of mm diameter  titanium rod is probably small enough to avoid tissue isolation issues.
    any impact with enough force that the rod ends up bearing load is likely to leave you with a broken arm anyway, but as you said, in some cases it would still be useful.
    a piece of metal that big will probably set of metal detectors, but given that shape and location, it should be easy to explain it away as a normal support done for broken bones, e.g.
  • That is a pretty good idea,  It is a pretty common practice for fighters to mold ceramic shin guard to their arms for just this purpose, also arm guards were worn by people for this purpose for a very long time. this is just taking a solution that has already been proven useful and integrating it in to the body. 
  • edited October 2014
    I've got an idea I'm going to brainstorm on for a while. If I can deal with some of the hazards inherent in the design, I'll post it and let everyone have a look. Could be quite elaborate, though.

    Source of Inspiration:

  • This is definitely my favorite thread on the board, and I have a few ideas I've been rolling around in my head for a while.  

    I couldn't think of anything that would provide positive ballistic protection, and so I focused on blunt force trauma and piercing/slashing wounds.

    Reinforcing the skull- the largest issue I can see with doing this is the danger presented at the edges of the mounting. Sufficient force could flex any armor so that it would cause a fracture along the edge of the armor plate. If you protect the whole skull, you're transferring all that energy to the neck, and risking snapping the spinal cord.  You could, of course, fuze or reinforce the spine but you sacrifice a great deal of mobility. 

    Protecting the chest and abdomen- Several sections of titanium cage designed similar to the 3D printed casts could be mounted on the hips to protect the kidneys, and if you were willing to sacrifice some mobility, could be extended forward to protect the abdominal cavity.  Similar cages could be mounted over the ribs, perhaps only fused to the bones at certain points on the sides, with silicone joints of sufficient size to flex without causing material fatigue. 

    Titanium cages could also be fused to the femur to protect the femoral artery, as that is one of the most vulnerable areas on the body.  Similar things could be done to protect the brachial artery. 

    Of course, the danger of doing any such implant in titanium is it limits a doctor's ability to treat you, should the protection fail.  

    A better solution would be to design an implant out of Novabone or some other form of bone putty, and allow it to be replaced with actual bone, as that will provide at least partial protection, and will be something the ER can handle, even if it's in a weird place.  

    I was meaning to run a rat test to see if something like that would be viable, but a change of employment last fall means I no longer have the spare resources to conduct such an experiment.
  • Time for some necro! Regarding tissue isolation, how do breast implants fit into all this? I've seen pictures of the implants and they seem to have quite a bit of surface area, but to the best of my knowledge most implantees' boobs don't turn blue and fall off afterwards...
  • @zombiegristle How ironic that zombie does the necro. :3

    This, along with the recent circadian implant, does bring some interesting things to light, as we now have a more tangible idea about what the threshold for tissue isolation is. I now find myself wondering whether or not (don't take this literally) implanting sheets of those little tiny bathroom tiles would be feasible. I mean, they're all very tiny, and there are gaps in between, but technically, they can stop bullets. Any thoughts?
  • ya, don't. I'm not sure what you'd like really. If we aren't taking it literally then I presume you mean what would happen if we replaced said tiles with some other bioproof material. The sheer amount of surgery required to cover a body in something like that would be incredible and would ultimately completely limit your mobility. All of which I'm sure was discussed previously. Sub dermal armor doesn't really work short of reinventing skin.
  • We've thoroughly established that point. However, the feasibility of implanting the "tiles" one at a time, with the intent of only protecting a particular area (the heart, for example), with tiles 3/4 in' on the side, seems like it'd be a lot like implant an oversized magnet. I do concede the amount of surgery is a bit off-putting, though.
  • if it's only an area it'd be easier to do it all at once. and you're still better off wearing some nice steel plate and kevlar armour. You'd have to make the implants probably half an inch thick? and tiles while more flexible than a solid plate would also leave big gaping holes in your protection

  • edited February 2015
    Well as discussed way back when, I'm not considering this as a replacement for or alternative to Kevlar vests, motocross gear, or the like. I'm looking at a way to augment our body's natural "last line of defense". Your vital structures are minimally protected thanks to evolution - brain has the skull, vital organs have the ribcage, arteries run along the inside of limbs, etc. I'm looking to add to that as a last-ditch means of increasing the survivability of attack when you DON'T have better options available. Small, purpose-built pieces of armor in strategic areas is the ticket, they don't have to be thick for stopping rifle rounds or large for full coverage.

    I think ceramic tiles are probably a bad idea because of the inherent downsides of the material - it's thick and rigid, and if it gets used you have to fish pieces of shattered/crushed ceramic out of the injury site. Something more like a polyethylene laminate would be better, sealed in a bioproof pouch or with a coating. Would greatly reduce the risk of penetration from things like knives or various accident-type injuries, and would be thin and flexible, and if it ends up getting used it holds together and could feasibly be removed and replaced as a single unit. A small panel of several layers could be made that follows the body's contours and is under 1/4" thick, and while it wouldn't do jack for bullets it could easily help save your life if you get stabbed by a knife, mauled by a wild animal, or mangled in a wrecked car.
  • For some reason I can't seem to edit that post...

    Those threats I mentioned at the end are what I'm looking help with. People don't walk around in motocross or riot gear, even though it could really help them out if they got in a car wreck. They don't wear stab-resistant clothing, even though a penetrating chest injury is srs bsns and can happen due to a great many things that aren't all just "some guy with a gun/knife wants to kill me". This isn't about waging war naked, it's about improving your odds against the everyday unforeseen threats in much the same way evolution can/did/does/would. If you're going into a high-risk situation, you still throw appropriate armor on over the subdermal, but for everyday stuff you don't have to and your overall odds of surviving "life in general" have gone up.
  • Before we even try to continue dealing with the feasibility of the implant itself, I think it's important to decide what sort of armor we're looking for, conceptually. Now you obviously can't use the same materials you'd use for ballistic armor as you would for protection against knife wounds. Unlike an external system, we can't really use "sacrificial" plates that shatter to dissipate kinetic force, because we'd have to go dig out all the pieces anytime you get shot, stabbed, or hit with enough for to shatter a plate. And that's not even going into the tissue damage that'd be sustained. So, it'd probably be better to use a solid metal plate, preferably something bio-inert like titanium. And since implant migration is a no-go, perhaps a coating of parylene C, or something else that bonds with tissue. In regards to the "big gaping holes" issue, I'm not asking for impenetrable protection, just a reasonable boost. That said, if we were going to eliminate most of the big holes, using a designed like

    Or perhaps, as @zombiegristle suggested, we use something softer and more flexible. Would it be feasible to use circles of that polyethylene material, arranged in a pattern like "dragon skin" to combat tissue isolation?

    Another issue I came across since we last talked on this subject lies in the events that take place after the armor has protected you. Would you remove it, and re-implant new armor? Or will it be re-usable? If we're going to reuse it, we have to find a way to mitigate the microbial nasties that get left behind by a knife attack. I've cut myself whilst doing some carpentry, and very nearly ended up with an infection that could've made me lose a finger. Adding armor into the mix, which, assuming it isn't penetrated, now has a ding harboring microbes. Adding colloidal silver, or some other anti-microbial agent would be a good idea, if possible.

    In addition to preventing infections, we also need to take into account how a wound over the implant will heal. From what I've observed in the healing processes of those who've implanted magnets and reported rejection, it seems like the body has a tendency to rebuild under the magnet, and gradually force it out. In terms of armor, reusable, or not, rejection is not an option. Awhile back, I saw a post by @cassox about a biocompatible matrix for accelerated healing:
    Coating the armor in something like this, and introducing, either through manual injection post-injury, or through some mechanism in the device itself, a growth hormone, or chemical designed to encourage the tissue to regrow over the armor, instead of rejecting it. I need to do some more reading into how the body heals, but triggering localized regeneration, instead of the standard wound healing cycle, also seems attractive.

  • edited February 2015
    One important thing you also have to think about is this. If the thing you've implanted does stop the bullet, it could easily get in the way or worse send bits of itself far into your body. So the implant may stop the bullet, but the shards could be what kill you. You'd need something that is both elastic and can harden on impact AND be biocompatible. Nothing like this exists to my knowledge. Also we're pretty resilient to bullet remarkably. So a bit of external protection and you're orders of magnitude better off. What would be better than subdermal armour is subdermal tech that when it ruptures releases something to seal the wounds and speed healing, or at least stave off bleeding long enough to get you to a hospital
  • I want to just firmly say, "stop thinking about bullets" here. I know I started this thread looking at subdermal ballistic armor, but that rapidly proved infeasible as we discussed it. Subdermal impact/stab armor is much more feasible, and still quite useful. Don't worry about bullets, bullets require external armor and are going to severely wound you no matter what - best defense is to not get shot, which is something people who get shot at for a living have been saying forever. A single layer of polyethylene fabric is much more stab-resistant than skin, and paper-thin. Let's look at stuff like that, and try to focus on practical ways to improve daily survivability against the things that are within reach, rather than shooting the whole concept down just because you can't become a Terminator.

    I like the idea of subdermal healing tech, like some sort of triggered antibiotic foam dressing that seals the wound and buys time to get to medical help.
  • A quick question before I write my next proposal. In terms of the wound closure foam, would it better to have something that hardens in the wound? Also, we need to have a way of quickly and rapidly extracting the foam for Emergency services, unless this is designed to replace sutures and going to the ER. Also, in the event of an artery being ruptured or severed, having some sort of counter-measure that allows blood to continue flowing through the artery, but not anywhere else would be good/essential.
  • Closing the wound, not so much. You don't want to trap foreign debris inside it. Read up on battlefield medicine in the military, lots of public info about how gross injuries are handled expediently. Generally, you clean, clot, and cover (my own alliteration, not taught that way as far as I know). Then you get to a hospital.

    Powdered clotting agents were once used, but it became an issue of cleaning the agent itself from the wound once you got back to actual medical care. Now they use "combat gauze", which has a coagulating agent impregnated in the wound dressing to stave off bleeding while also covering and protecting the site, and applying compression.

    What could be handy, is something like a sealed pocket of a foam-based antibiotic and coagulating agent, that expands when punctured to fill a wound cavity. Hardening would be very bad, should ideally be rapidly dissolved and washed away when the medical personnel rinse the wound.
  • The one issue i see with this is if you get punched and it ruptures the capsule. I feel like if the material hardened after expansion so it could be removed in one piece but also stopped the bleeding that would be ideal. To avoid the rupture issue, have the capsule only weaken to allow for failure and opening once it's been exposed to oxygen, i.e open wounds rather than punches.
  • Good idea, no need for it to trigger on blunt impact. Hardening is still a bad idea though, it would fill all the small crevices and work its way inbetween tissues and then lock in place. Now you're causing more damage upon removal, plus the possibility of it actually pushing debris further into the body as it hardens. Keep it rinsable, you have to rinse the wound anyway.
  • Did someone already drop this link about the spider silk skin?
  • edited February 2015
    @directoX Probably but if not thanks. That's a project im working on from the biological side of things but to actually make a body produce it is a pain in the ass. Gonna be a few years before we have working prototypes

    @zombiegristle when I say harder I'm not talking rock hard, more spongy and a solid piece. Something you could pull out with a pair of forceps but won't goo out of the hole. like squishy AB foam
  • yeah, I don't know how it would work exactly on skin, since skin is constantly shedding as new layers move up and replace it. Maybe it would be peel like a sunburn?
  • I was thinking foam too. What if we used some variant of starch, like popcorn. When you get it wet, it shrivels up and is easily washed away. Or perhaps just make it so that the top layer hardens, and the rest stays in a semi-solid state. The advantage of a foam that partially hardens is that any significant bleeding, like a severed artery, is sealed. With a gel, or something like that, blood can still be forced into the cavity, pushing the antibiotic out and allowing more bleeding to occur. Because, as wonderful as anticlotting agents are, you'll still be getting seepage, and have the possibility of breaking the clot, or forming blood clots elsewhere(as far as I understand it). I'm sure there's some way we can engineer the hardening process to pull debris deeper into foam mass before fully hardened. 

    While we're at it, why not add a local anesthetic to the mix? 

    Question for the future:  Do you think it's at all feasible to design our "foam" to be a standalone treatment, that cleans the wound, stops hemorrhaging, combats infection, and provides a structure for tissue regrowth?
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