DIY biohackers with the Pittsburgh-based biohacking collective Grindhouse Wetware recently debuted their newest creation: a silicone implant with LED lights that’s activated by magnets.
Last Saturday, Grindhouse members performed three surgical implantations during a single operation in Dusseldorf, Germany. The roughly coin-sized device, called the Northstar V1, took about 15 minutes to implant and is described as “well-engineered and safe”.
Once implanted, the device can be used as a backlight for existing tattoos (the biohackers note that they were inspired by naturally occurring bioluminescence in animals like jellyfish or fireflies). When the user places a magnet directly on the Northstar device, its five LED lights blink and light up. After ten seconds, it goes into sleep mode, and they estimate that the device has enough power to light up 10,000 times. Once the batteries are out, the device has to be surgically removed in order to be recharged.
Grindhouse hopes to make the device available for the public sometime in 2016—through tattoo studios most likely. As the tech evolves, the collective hopes to make a device that could transmit valuable biometric data to medical devices or even a person’s cellphone.
Grindhouse cofounder Tim Cannon told Anna Neifer with Motherboard why they came up with the Northstar device. He said: “You know, people from the biohacking community wanted it. They contacted us because they wanted to light up their tattoos. That’s how we generate our implants, we let the community inspire us.”
You can read a lot more about the project at Motherboard.
Image Credits: Grindhouse Wetware and Ryan O’Shea