Standardized Transdermal Ports

I've been reading a lot about the transdermal projects that @chironex and @glims have talked about briefly about on the forum. @garethnelsonuk has also been working on his implantable Edison and CyborgNet projects. The latter being about the standardization in terms of software and communication. What about hardware? More specifically transdermal charging and data transfer.

Do we feel the need for a standardized transdermal port for charging and data transfer? 
Or rather would the existing Micro-B and (eventually) Type-C secure these needs?

If so, what sort of characteristics could this port have?


  • I don't think anyone has a way to do transdermal reliably yet - it would be incredible if someone figured it out though.
  • Would probably be unwise to deviate from other tech industry standards, so something like USB-C would be best. Making it transdermal doesn't necessarily mean the port has to be different from the rest of the gadget world, it's just mounted differently.
  • So I can think of one good reason to deviate from industry standards: size. Rather than using a ~6-mm USB-C port, use something like a needle (or a tiny tiny audio jack) for data transfer so that the port is as small as possible. This could get the actual connector and port size down to potentially the sub-millimeter level at the cost of slower data transfer.
  • If I may say, I would think that maybe having a port attached by magnets would be best. What if you for got to unplug your self from your device? A magnet would just pop off ware as a USB/audio connector would pull. Base on other sources that could lead to rejection, and owch...
  • @chironex was talking about using this design for the suggested magnet port on the test transdermal. He's just too exited about his nanotubes to notice right now...
  • thanks -_- 

    Ok so i've got a few designs for this already in mind. couple of things. First the magnet shouldn't be n52. that's far too strong and when you go to disconnect you risk pulling the implant. Second, you ideally have some spot on the implant where tissue can grow through it and anchor the thing in place. Otherwise it'll slide around to much when you go to connect and disconnect with this method. Ideally we'd want a small port for this but for the test version the port will be slightly smaller than a standard usb port. It'll need a special dongle thing to connect to it but that seems fair for something in your body. Especially if it's standard. 

    I'm actually opting for a non magnetic option for ease of use. Going to be sort a wedge shaped connector and port. One at a slightly larger angle so the port will fit in and it's own friction will hold it in place. But only barely. That way there's very little stress on the thing when you go to disconnect. The wedge will be a bit springgy too so there's a good connection even if it shifts a bit. 
    Similair to how a ribbon cable connects basically. that way it's a very low profile and easy to use. 
  • In addition to magnets, using a single fiber-optic strand for transmission would give you great data bandwidth, along with a very tiny port size. I'm not sure how small the conversion hardware for light to digital is. You'd also need to include a converter for the other end of the cable (USB to fiber, Ethernet to fiber, etc.). 
    I don't know if any of you have seen a fiber-optic strand, but some of the smaller ones can be close to the diameter of a human hair, and transmit for a very long distance with no amplifiers. 
  • edited November 2015
    I know this is not exactly ontopic. But using optical data transmission does not require a transdermal port, it works great through the skin. Speed highly depends on the complexity of your circuit. Using literally just a single LED can give you enough to work with a terminal. (And that's utilising the LED as transmitter end receiver at the same time.
    With 4 components (tiny ic+led+PIN diode+resistor) you can get 115kBaud.
    With a few more components you can get close to one Mbit. Using some less common stuff you can get up to 4 Mbit while keeping the circuit tiny.
    Similar works for power. Qi is all fine and candy but designed for charging stuff like phones. It's easy to design something with better magnetic coupling, allowing to transfer more power with less losses and smaller size. Like this would be on the scale of around 1.5cm.

    Getting optical 115kBit/s (without fibers) and power supply would work even without going transdermal.
    Fiber-optics often require good alignment and interface size increases with speed (same with the price)
  • I might look into data transfer via LEDs - how do you go about using one as a receiver? I've heard of people using LEDs as photovoltaic sensors before but i'm clueless as to how this works practically.
  • So, for 1 gBit/s, how big a fiber would you need?
  • What on earth would you need that amount of bandwidth for inside your body?
  • edited November 2015
    Now that you mention that, I have no idea. It was meant to establish a sense of scale for the future, more than anything else. 

    Data storage is one possibility. Speed for the sake of Speed is another.
  • What about magnetic induction used for data instead of power? Like a tiny modem that sits between a standard Qi unit and a device to use the charging plate as a transmitter or receiver?
  • edited November 2015

    @chironex is there any ETA on your test transdermal? I would love to see some pics of the design you are talking about.

    @zombiegristle I don't really think wireless data transfer is an issue. We already have Bluetooth, which for most applications should offer enough bandwidth (for now), albeit with come limitations. The nice little boost that is coming to Bluetooth in 2016 should help with that too. 

    According to this guide it is more than possible. However the max baud is only 4800, and miniaturizing it would be an interesting experience. 

    Moving forward I think data transfer should be kept in mind as data storage becomes more applicable within the body. However, in terms of power transfer. I would much rather plug in my implant for 10 minutes and have it quick charge, than have to sleep with an induction coil around my forearm. 

    The idea of a optical data transfer through the skin is quite a neat idea. @ThomasEgi, to what extent could this be miniaturized? Would it be possible to use a semi-beefy SMD led for a receiver and transmitter under the skin?

  • I think we're getting off topic. Time for a fresh thread. Data transfer is it's own beast, and everyone is looking at the transdermal project like having hard drive in your left buttock. The point of the transdermal is to get a working transdermal, not to reinvent all the wheels.

    It's infrastructural tech, in that it's about making a process for many things, not just one thing.
  • edited November 2015
    In that case. Back to where @bciuser was going. 

    Assuming that standardized tansdermal power ports are a must for the future, speaking hypothetically of course. What should some characteristics of this port be?

    A power port that could freely rotate while still being able to charge seems like it could be quite helpful. Kind of like how you can spin your earbuds around in a 3.5mm jack.

    Having it be circular would also be nice as there would be no edges to bump or damage your skin with. 

  • ETA, no clue. Life just threw me a curve ball and it screwed my timeline. I'm waiting on 2 things in the mail to finish the coating process. I've done a test coat (made another post about that) and the hydroxyapatite is looking good. Once that's done it's no more than a week to get it finished really. So no longer than end of month I hope. There are some pics around in various thread of what it's looking like so far.
  • So back on topic:
    It's my understanding that transdermal suffers from risks of infection longterm due to the microscopic holes etc - how is this problem resolved?
  • edited November 2015

    @garethnelsonuk I have read that for the last few months @glims and @chironex have been working on a solution to that. The discussion can be found here, and it seems like they are getting pretty close to doing some initial tests of the coating. 

    I can let them speak for themselves but as I understand it the process is as follows:
    • Coat the implant in the standard biosafe TiN
    • Use the wonderfully magical HA (hydroxyapatite) to get the skin to bond with/heal directly with implant
    • Finally add a little cellular matrix to jump start the skin's growth around the implant.
    The most important part being the hydroxyapatite phase. Essentially it is tricking your skin into thinking it growing/bonding with bone. In contrast to transdermals now, which simply grow around the implant to seal it. I just found a video made by @chrionex explaining the basic process of making it and he explains it a bit more as well. It can be found here

    Please correct me if I am wrong, still very much a layman.
  • Basically got it, but the major change is actually the extra cellular matrix. HA has been used before, and while it helps, it is as you say for binding to bone. However, we are hoping that the porous nature of the coating, coupled withe the ECM will allow the subject to heal into the implant. So, HA helps, but ECM should literally seal the deal.
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