"Biohackers" Insert LEDs Into Their Hands

Ryan O'Shea/Grindhouse Wetware

Transhumanism doesn’t just have its place in medicine and science – it also has its own aesthetic.

“Biohackers” have found a novel way to enhance their bodies with implantable technology. A group of people have had a “Northstar V1” chip , an LED disc about the size of a large coin, inserted inside their hands. When activated by a magnet, the LEDs light up.

Three people had it implanted at the Cyborg Fair in Dusseldorf, Germany. The insertions in Germany involved short surgical operations that took 15 minutes, carried out by Swedish tattoo artist, Jowan Österlund.

The device is the brainchild of Grindhouse Wetware, a self-proclaimed “rag tag group of programmers, engineers, and enthusiasts,” who hoped to fuse the development of wearable technology, along with the punk ethos of body modification.

Speaking to Motherboard, the group said: “We want to transform science fiction into reality. To do so, it’s imperative that we have a decade-long study. The people at Grindhouse Wetware aren’t career academics. This is about passion and citizen science.”

Still lost as to why anyone would want this? Along with the cosmetic value of the implant, Grindhouse Wetware also explains its possible practical applications: “For anyone who wonders what the point is for the device. Obviously it would be easier to measure biomedical data with wearable technology instead.

“However, the device for us at Grindhouse is the first step toward a higher biology, and a step toward human-computer interfaces. We want to ensure that the future of technology is in your hands, affordable, and easy to obtain.”

They're also in the thinking stages of an upgraded Northstar V1 chip, which will be a “rechargeable device that adds gesture recognition and Bluetooth capabilities, enabling users to control electronic devices with hand movements, as well as add patterns or color variations to LED.”


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