Biohacking has become a ‘trend’ and those practicing it are continuously looking for new means of enhancing their body via implantable technology even if it is only for aesthetic purposes. The latest trend in biohacking is about having LED lights under the skin.
A group of three biohacking enthusiasts have recently implanted a device known as Northstar V1 under the skin of their hands. The device is about the size of a small coin and has been designed so that it lights up for 10 seconds when a magnet is brought near to it. It emulates bioluminescence and lights up in the shape of a star. It has been created from a printed circuit board that features five red Surface-Mounted-Device Light-Emitting Diodes (SMD LEDs). The chip has been coated in silicone and is powered via a 3-volt battery.
Since these augmentation operations aren’t considered ethical, to put it in a buffered manner, many of the biohackers perform the procedure themselves after carrying out research while others simply take the help of professional body modification artists such as Jowan Österlund. He is the one who implanted the Northstar VI at a recent Cyborg Fair at Dusseldorf, Germany in the hands of the three enthusiasts we mentioned earlier.
He shaved their hands and disinfected their arms before moving on to making a small incision in the skin of the hand and inserting the chip. This was followed by stitching of the skin. Among the group, one member was Tim Cannon, founder of Grindhouse Wetwear, the Pittsburgh Company responsible for coming up with the device. Tim had another device implanted in his arm about two years ago. The device, about the size of a cigarette pack was known as Circadia and was designed to collect data from Tim’s body and then transfer the data to any Android-powered device. A lot of people were excited seeing Circadia’s LED lights shining under Tim’s skin and wanted to get one as well.
He says, “Many people who saw the lights were very excited. They have been waiting years for something like this. They asked for them to be made available. We obliged. So, yes, this version of Northstar simply lights up.” Another Grindhouse Wetwear employee who also had the Northstar chip implanted in his hand; Shawn Sarver said, “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.”
The device currently only offers LED lighting, however, the company is hoping to upgrade its functions thus allowing the users to control a number of gadgets using gestures. The company says, “Northstar V1, much like piercings and cosmetic surgeries, is purely for aesthetic purposes. It is a simple device that will prove the possibility of implanting technology in the body and will pave the way for more advanced and functional augmentations.” The company further added that the Northstar Version 2 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.”