Grinders Sporting Northstar LED Implants #WearableWednesday


It looks like implants just took another leap with bright LEDs flashed by some members of Grindhouse Wetware according to Wareable. The term Grinders refers to people who are part human and part machine, and this collective is on a mission, “augmenting humanity using safe, affordable, open source technology”. They have bigger dreams of creating an open source heart, but for now they are taking baby steps with small implants so they can test coatings and charging capability. Of course I wanted to see what their board design looked like for the Northstar and found this on the forum.


It’s coated with Parylene, which is applied using Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and is supposedly more effective than liquid coatings. Parylene is used in many fields including electronics, nanotech and in this case, biotech. The chip is an Atmega 328P and you can spot the five LEDs that can be triggered by a magnet, resulting in the star design. Power is supplied by a CR2325 lithium coin cell and is not rechargeable.

You probably have questions about the why of all of this, which is best answered in Wareable’s previous interview with Grindhouse co-founder Tim Cannon.

“I want to give humanity the capability to be what it claims it wants to be which are these curious, benevolent researchers and explorers,” he said. “I definitely don’t think that the body we’re riding in allows for that in any way.”

Tim is right, our bodies are not designed in that way, and part of me wonders if that isn’t for a reason. So far even if we can keep our bodies going, our brains deteriorate. I’m more excited about what Johnny Depp had going in the movie Transcendence, where you can upload your brain to another body. It turns out that Grindhouse is working on a Thinking Cap which uses Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to activate or deactivate certain regions of the brain. Plus, there are plenty of products out there that are now geared to brain activity. Check out our teardown on one product used for meditation, the Muse Headset. Muse looks at brainwaves in order to help people be more mindful. The more we understand the body and mind, the better equipped we will be for the future. As for incorporating 3D printed parts and other tech, the bold ones will have to continue the research.

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