The Northstar has Landed



  • Meh that's his. Like I said, I intend on doing significantly better. He took loses to keep costs down and to get to production faster. I'm gonna see if I can minimize those loses further. Also having access to a universities journal subscriptions and labs means that I have everything I need to improve on his significantly. 

    Also even if super caps currently hold slightly less power they have lots of properties that still make them out preform lithium. Firstly a cell based on something like nanotubes can cycle 50,000 times with little reduction to functionality. And there are materials that could push the 2000 farads he got in his credit card cell up significantly. And those materials can be improved further by messing with them on a nanoscale to increase their surface area. Also while I'll concede there is the chance of gas, unlike lithium it won't also light on fire and spray carcinogens and worse into your body should it fail. I'm not saying a failing supercap would be pleasant, but it's safer than the alternative.  Also unlike lithium the materials I'm using to make mine are relatively cheap and incredibly safe (also abundant, something lithium is not). Can I make one that small? Probably. I'm making mine 2cmx 8cm x 3mm and 2cmx4cmx3mm So thinner but a bit wider/longer than that one. And I'll be continuing to improve mine over the next few months. For mine I'm aiming for 40mAh to start and I'll go from there. 

    Also robs cap isn't as energy dense because he's not making small ones. His goal is big caps for cars and houses. Mine will be good for that too, but I'm starting with caps for implants. Hence why im spending extra time figuring the best way to cram more power in there and make it smaller
  • edited January 2016
    His goal is great for houses, it fills an excellent niche; namely the need for low cost power storage. Space isn't a premium in a house, so taking up about as much volume as equivalent lead-acid system for much less money is fine.

    As for the ultra-tiny cells, I would still go with ones like these until supercapacitors have had time to mature.

    Also 40mAh at what voltage, and what's your self-discharge rate? If you have another thread on this we can talk there, this is getting a bit off-topic.
  • the cell has to preform as good as a lithium battery of the same size or better. So 40mah at 3.2-3.7v and I'll be keeping the self discharge rate as low as possible. It's still early and I won't have the cells finished for a few months but I'll be showing off some prototypes at bodyhacking con. I'll make a thread once I've got better prototypes to show off. i'm waiting on some materials 
  • edited March 2016
    @MTS - V2 does have blue LEDs! It'll be hard to see them though, skin blocks blue light really well.

    @ChilliEye - sort of. Maybe send an email to [email protected] if you're interested. Unfortunately our first production run was spoken for before we even got them back from the fab. You will be able to purchase these implants from our website within a month or so, and it'll set you up an appointment with our nearest implanter.

    @bciuser & @JohnDoe none so far! we have had a 100% success rate over eight implants, with no rejection, infection or breach.
    The hand IS a terrible place to put it though. Our CEO Justin has maintained his iron-man lifestyle with a Northstar in his hand, but I had a few issues with blood circulation, it made my fingers numb if I exerted myself. I recommend the wristwatch or forearm position instead, especially if you are thin. for V2 we are considering softer silicone, or curving the back side to make it more comfortable.

    @MTS - The guy with the forearm implant elected to have it removed. We got some good science out of it.

    @Fred it definitely is the bulkiest and riskiest part of the device.
    Like I said in the last post, we left wireless charging out on purpose to simplify this project.
    In my opinion, commercially available supercaps are not a replacement for lithium cells (yet). Energy density is too low. They are more suited to energy-harvester applications.

    Yesterday, we completed an exhaustive test - 17,500 activations before running out of power!

    @chironex you build your own supercaps? that's really cool. are you able to package them so they can be used as a component on a circuit board? do you do it professionally or just because you want to?
  • @sixecho thats good! I wonder if there are other colors that'll be available?

    Ok cool I'm thinking about implanting it in the wristwatch area.
  • @sixecho They're still in development but ya once they're done they'll work with any circuit. I'm making a bunch of different sizes so you can pick the size you'd need. I'd say I do this semi-professionally at this point. Only because my lab is in serious need of a big upgrade, but even then I'm already outpacing most of the people working on them. I do it both because I want to but also because I know I need them for some of my more exciting projects. And since there wasn't anything good enough on the market I had no choice but to invent my own. 
  • @chironex
    So what's that like? Are you doing more installs or are you more focused on development?
  • Installs? Not sure what you mean. I'm just developing them atm. Once I get an acceptable cap I'll be looking into mass production.
  • edited March 2016
    Like implanting magnets and such.... But thrilled to see someone try and move this forward and innovate!
  • Did someone say that V2 will have gesture recognition? Because that would be rad! Would it still have to stay on the hand or are there other areas of the arm you're looking at for that?
  • Has anyone had any trouble getting through airport security with one of these installed?

  • V2 Will have gesture, correct :D as SixEcho mentioned above:
    "The hand IS a terrible place to put it though. Our CEO Justin has
    maintained his iron-man lifestyle with a Northstar in his hand, but I
    had a few issues with blood circulation, it made my fingers numb if I
    exerted myself. I recommend the wristwatch or forearm position instead,
    especially if you are thin. for V2 we are considering softer silicone,
    or curving the back side to make it more comfortable."
    Mine's in my hand and I haven't run into the same sort of issues, but I have a bit more space and am less active in general.

    Took mine through the airport on the way home and opted for the freedom fondle instead of the machine, and I had no issues. Mileage will vary, given the TSA's gross targeting.
  • "Mileage will vary, given the TSA's gross targeting. "

    Its ok, I'm a white male... :p
  • edited March 2016
    I just went through with an RFID and my belt and never set off an alarm. (Also looked like a mad bomber, didn't get pulled for the first time) My boss ended up getting "random searched" I laughed and proceeded to mock him next to the tsa hahaha

    Edit: I forgot my point lol. I think they have made modifications to scanners for some more common objects like belts so I'm not really sure it would show up( could be wrong) unless you go through that whole body scan. Also a lump in the hand may make you get a little more attention then normal from an agent seeing how it's electronic and lights up....
  • edited March 2016
    Sir I am afraid I am going to have to ask the hat you please remove your and to pass. *pulls out stolen pocket knife* easy way or hard way sir.
    As this gets more mainstream I won't to see a biohackers vs TSA thread....
  • Hahah thanks guys!

    just label the implant as TSA compilant in a professional manner ;)
  • Practical applications?
  • @JamesT, this is more of a proof of concept. V2 will have gesture control and bluetooth I believe.
  • How is this coming? I'm really excited to see this super small Qi charger!?
  • I do plan on developing my own, but I would like to see anything regarding charging and power storage being developed. Would help with my data storage implant. I would love to see a viable alternative to lithium ion batteries.
  • @Jupiter do you mean being developed by the community? or just researched in general. If its the latter i can give quite a few examples of new charging and battery tech being developed, but mostly in University labs by experts.
  • @AmosKamal More anything that's being developed by the community or that has enough publicly available information for me to recreate it. I am interested in other developments too, but not as much so as something that I could actually plan on being able to use.
  • edited October 2016

    Are super capacitors, yours or commercially available ones, able to light a single, surface-mount LED for a couple minutes or more if sized to fit in an RFID type glass tube along with a micro, wireless way to charge it?

    I can't imagine myself putting something as large as the Northstar in my hand or arm but something much smaller might be more readily accepted.

    I'm thinking something similar to a Firefly tattoo but using an LED and a super capacitor to power it while being charged and then glows until it runs out of power.  I'm not sure what the wireless charging would involve or if it could fit inside something as small as the RFID uses.

    It wouldn't have any real use besides looking cool but, depending on how long it stays lit between charges, it might sell.

    For charging, I'm imagining a hand-held, battery powered charger that could be held close to the tiny implant.  I would hope the charging time would be seconds for minutes worth of light or minutes worth of charging for a longer time.

    I have no idea if such a thing is possible or not. 
  • edited October 2016

    it's been slow, we have had trouble with dev members not being available to work on the implant. between february and july i was back in australia and nothing got done at all.

    that being said, as of last week we have a fully functional and proven circuit, hopefully we can wrap up development and start testing now. when we complete the implant software we hope to post a demonstration here on

    in an effort to reduce thickness we are using printed coils now instead of wound coils. there is a definite performance hit but they work pretty well with Qi. we get them made using a special heavy copper process, and they can be as thin as 0.2mm, although that'd be pretty fragile.

    we also had to abandon the TI chip with integrated charger- it struggled to terminate batteries under about 50mAh. we replaced it with one that has a regulated output, and a dedicated charger IC.

    there have been a lot of great wireless power products recently, but not many commercial advances in power storage. 

    regarding alternatives to lithium batteries, some of the best options i have found are Seiko CPH3225A supercaps, and NiMH button cells by Varta Microbattery. 

    If you are trying to roll your own charger, check out TI's reference designs, they helped me a lot. In fact some of their reference chargers are even smaller than mine.
    Also, @Birdhandz, check out NFC. Qi can't be made small enough to fit in an RFID tube, but NFC can.
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