Transdermal implant charging

Here’s what I’m thinking:
Modify a transdermal piercing to accept a watch battery instead of screw-in jewelry. Run leads from the battery to the underside of the piercing, where they are connected to an LED. Coat the whole underside of the piercing in parylene to protect both the leads and the LED. (Note: the LED is just an example. Other devices would presumably work just as well. Transdermal headphone jack to implanted magnets, anyone?)

Here are some potential issues I foresee with this idea:
Transdermals have a terrible success rate, and increasing the size of the foot by adding another attachment to the bottom would likely slow down healing.
The boundary between the parylene and the metal of the transdermal would need to be protected somehow, or I could see the parylene “peeling up” from the metal (Note that I have very little experience with parylene, so I don’t know if this is likely to happen).

Advantages of having a replaceable battery:
A switch or button could be added near the battery to turn the light on or off (which would be pretty cool).
The implant would not need to be removed every time the battery dies, like the North Star.
The light would not require another power source for inductive charging like the NFC light designed by Alex Smith.

Is this design feasible? How would I go about prototyping/testing something like this?


  • It’s not entirely impossible. But the biggest issue is the significant increase in size you’ll have adding wires to the part that actually goes through the skin (I’m afraid I don’t know what that part of said implant is called). As it is they tend to have lower rejection rates due to being tiny. So the very surface of the skin has an insignificantly small hole in it.
    That said, if you can build it, I’m sure there’s people who would be more than happy to coat it for you. Unfortunately that’ll add more to the size, I think the “edge” of the coating would have to be on the outside of the skin to avoid issues.

  • Yeah. I was using some transdermals as the connect point for muscle stimulation for a while. Not fun at all. Lol. I also implanted a USB memory thing in someone. It really didn't work out all that well. Any time you access it, there's a lot of pulling and trauma at the site.

    There was a lot of discussion about this a few years back. There's a prosthesis technology called ITAP. ITAP lets you attach something like a fake leg directly to bone. This is worlds ahead of the shitty straps and cups that most people have. The really revolutionary aspect of ITAP is that you have a device attached to the bone and passing out through skin that doesn't act as an avenue for infection. This is achieved via a combination of a type of coating with a weird porous titanium that lets tissue grow right into it. Basically, the skin attaches so well to the implant that it forms a "seal" with it. If you're really interested in doing a transdermal project I'd look into ITAP.

  • Hey @Cassox, is there some info on that transdermal muscle stimulation project somewhere? I am aware of your USB thing but don't think I saw that.

    @Jupiter power wires for a small electronics project can be very small, I don't really think that would be much of an issue. They should be able run on the inside of various sizes of transdermals; Samppa's Transdermals (see below) apparently have a 4mm diameter shaft, but with two coated wires you should be able to stay under 2mm along the longest axis.

    Leaving aside overall infection and rejection risks of the barrier, the two biggest problems I would see are probably trauma around the implant due to stress as Cassox mentioned, and how the device itself attaches to the transdermal.

    I think a magnetic brush contact connector on the outside of the implant, and a focus on keeping it very flat in general could be 'feasible' when compared to the kind of stuff people screw into transdermals for metal mohawks etc.

    Under the skin I am not sure how the connection should work, if the device is attached directly to the subdermal then i imagine implantation will be quite complicated and many of the benefits of having an implanted device vs a wearable are lost (since the device is effectively attached to the outside of the skin at a localized spot still).
    On the other hand any kind of wiring would have to be very flexible along all axes so as not to irritate the tissue around it as it moves and flexes. Also the implantation procedure would get very complex again if the wires need to be attached to either of the sides during the procedure.

    Once again here is a pretty detailed source on Samppa's research in his (nonelectronic) transdermal designs, also mentioning ITAP:

  • Some sort of wireless charging would probably be more ideal.

    As for a coating, you may want to look into sodium silicate. It seemed to show promise for this guy:

  • @A_Sleepless_PhD said:
    Some sort of wireless charging would probably be more ideal.

    As for a coating, you may want to look into sodium silicate. It seemed to show promise for this guy:

    Lol thats @chironex he gave up on a transdermal project.

  • ^for now. Been thinking about this recently. Might pick it up again down the line now that we have mammalian cell culture capabilities. Will make this a lot easier to test without having to cut ourselves open every time we want to test something. But I've got other stuff to do first, so it's really a backburner project.

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