German biohacker implants cassette-sized biometric chip under his skin

November 1, 2013 - 

On the heels of Halloween comes a stomach-turning and somewhat bizarre story out of Germany.

Reported in Vice’s Motherboard blog, Tim Cannon, a German “biohacker” implanted a computer chip in his arm that uses an open-source system to wirelessly record and transmit his biometric data. Dubbed, Circadia 1.0, Cannon had the chip implanted beneath his skin by body modification “pioneer,” Steve Haworth, not a doctor. And according to the Vice report, the device was slipped under his skin without the use of anesthesia.

If that’s not enough to totally gross you out, the entire device is about the size of an Altoids tin and protrudes from Cannon’s arm with some pretty gruesome-looking stitches.

The device was built by Cannon and his colleagues at Grindhouse Wetware and wirelessly transmits data from Cannon’s body to Android devices. Charging is also performed wirelessly.

The Circadia wasn’t just made for Cannon and his pals. According to the Vice report, the first production run of Circadia chips will be ready and will cost somewhere around $500.

Don’t get me wrong, what Cannon and his team have made is very cool, and is certainly ahead of its time. I would expect that there is a lot of development currently taking place for some similar devices, but this particular instrument looks pretty painful and obstructive. No doubt, there are many applications and meaningful reasons to measure biometric information in real-time. Depending on what’s being measured, this could even be used for wireless authentication.

Cannon isn’t the first to transmit data from inside the human body, but he’s definitely the first to do it this way. There have been many other less-permanent designs that have made their way into the biometrics discussion recently.

Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, Australian firefighters have recently tested a swallowable capsule from Equivital that wirelessly transmits core body temperature and other measurements in real-time. The capsule, called the VitalSense Core Temperature Capsule transmits data every 15 seconds and is typically “passed” through the human body within five days.

Also, researchers at the University of Illinois have recently created a way to print micro-devices directly to the skin that can be used to track health statistics and to monitor healing. This particular device lasts for about two weeks before it peels off of a user’s skin.   

(feature image from motherboard.vice.com)

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About Adam Vrankulj

Adam Vrankulj is an editor for BiometricUpdate.com. His background consists of online news writing, editing and content marketing. Adam has written for CBCNews.ca, BlogTO and was the editor and curator for the nextMEDIA and CIX Source publications. He has a degree in journalism and is passionate about science, technology and social innovation. Contact Adam, or follow him at @adamvrankulj