The Northstar V1 is the latest device biohackers are implanting under their skin.
There are wearables… and then there are embeddables. The latter is technology you can’t necessarily take off because it’s implanted in your body under the skin. This seems extreme for most people, but not for a group biohackers who recently implanted a coin-sized LED device in their hands.
The Northstar V1 is the latest subdermal technology implant created by Grindhouse Wetware, a Pittsburgh-based collective comprised of biohackers and grinders. For those unfamiliar with the term, grinders are people who are part human, part machine and they share the mission of “augmenting humanity using safe, affordable, open source technology.”
The Northstar is a module with five red LEDs that light up for 10 seconds when activated by a magnet, illuminating the user’s skin. While a light up implantable doesn’t sound too appealing and worth cutting up your hand for, co-founder Tim Cannon says the Northstar is designed to show that things can be inserted safely and be usable under the skin.
The Northstar is coated with Parylene, which is employed in biotech to prevent the body’s rejection of the device. At the heart of it is an ATmega28P. A limitation to the unit, however, is its power. The implant runs on a CR2325 lithium coin cell and is not rechargeable. However, the Grindhouse team believes this simple gadget will pave the way for a more advance and functional Northstar V2 that will be rechargeable, have gesture recognition, Bluetooth capabilities and even deliver biometric data.
At the moment, V1 is purely for aesthetic purposes and has gained interest from the body modification community as a way to backlight body art. If you’re interested in becoming a cyborg, visit Cannon and the Grindhouse Wetware’s website.
[Images: Ryan O’Shea/Grindhouse Wetware]