Life as a Cyborg - Day 1
Life as a Cyborg - Day 1 - First day out as Transhuman <<You are here
It was the day after the night before and my partner and I wake up to our first morning as Transhuman.
First thing we do is give our hands a wiggle, Yep, still attached!
Aftercare procedures that are published by "Dangerous Things" is as follows
First few days:
Once an x-series tag is placed under the skin, you can expect some bruising and slight swelling.
The skin wound should scab over and stop bleeding within 5 to 30 minutes.
The swelling should go down within 2 to 24 hours, but bruising may remain for a few days. After swelling goes down, you should notice slightly better read range performance.
After the first day, you should be in pretty good shape, happily using your tag. You can wash your hands normally and take showers, etc.
Luckily, I did not experience any bruising just a bit of tenderness.
One thing everyone was, understandably, very worried about was infection.
The way I see it is that RFID / NFC implantation is as less of an infection risk than an ear piercing, my reasoning is that when you have your ears pierced, they leave you with two constantly open holes in your skin that your body has to scar around, and then scar right the way through to the other side, leaving lots of surface area and exposure points for infection. The process of implanting leaves you with a single tiny scab where your body has sealed the hole. Watertight. Bugproof.
As previously discussed the implant is provided in a sealed glass vial the size of a grain of rice, within a preloaded implantation needle, within a sterilized package.
As long as you trust the serialization processes of the manufacturer and your registered piercer, the actual moment of implantation is the last time bacteria could be introduced to your system.
Over the two to four weeks post installation, the body will begin to encapsulate the tag with fibrous collagen tissue. To help this process along, you can take pre-natal vitamins35, which help build collagen and connective tissues. During this time, it is important that you not perform any strenuous activity, put pressure on the tag, play with or poke at the tag, work out, spar, rock climb, shoot firearms, or grip anything with significant force as it can cause the muscles in your hand to apply unequal pressure to the tag and cause it to migrate under the skin. If your tag does migrate, move, or misalign during this healing process, it is not necessarily unsafe. The primary safety issue would be if the tag moved very close to any of your bones, which would increase the risk of breaking should your hand receive serious blunt force trauma that could present significant external pressure to the tag in such a way that it be caught between a bone and that external force. To date we have never had a customer report an installed tag breaking, and we've performed various physical tests our x-series tags (see durability section).
I have a video and blog coming up about chip migration, SPOILER ALERT: mine migrated a few mm and a few degrees.
We will explore this another day.
You may also experience momentary tingling, pinching sensations, or itching at the installation site for the next 12-24 months. This is normal, as it indicates your body is healing around the tag and damaged nerves around the install site are reconnecting.
After the first encapsulation process you can get back to fighting bears and rock climbing as normal.
First Programming and Test
I used NXP NFC Tag Writer on my Android phone (with NFC).
iPhones are not an option in this case, even though they have NFC onboard) as Apple have "Nerfed" their NFC in the same way they have bluetooth, only certain applications and devices can interact with iPhones and then only with basic protocols. I speculate that this is to stop people from sharing MP3 files with each other, possibly downloaded from other sources that are not iTunes, another Apple product.
NXP NFC Tag Writer is a set of amazing NFC tools. You can program any writable NFC chip with your Android phone.
As listed below you can use their template creator to program an action to your tag, that when scanned would launch a business card, weblink, email address or even a plain text document.
My partner set hers up to advertise her art page and mine has been set up to open my twitter account, for the moment.
You can save as many tags as you want and it only takes 10 seconds to switch between them.
For example you could scan the RFID fob for your gym, your house, your work, your discount card as well as your business card, your personal and work email addresses and have them all stored on your phone to switch out when you want.
For example when business networking I flash my work business card to my hand and the rest of the time I keep it as my twitter account.
I will be registering the ID of the card with my access control systems so I can still interact with peoples mobile phones and access doors without having to re-flash the chip.
More on this to follow in later blogs.
To energize the coil within the chip the phone or door tag reader maintains an magnetic field around it, when a copper coil passes through the field it generates enough electricity to power up the chip on board causing it to spit out its data sets and ID number.
This means the tag never needs a battery and only powers up when it passes through a 13.56MHz field.
As a general rule of thumb, Liquid absorbs RF energy more than air, so when my hand was a little swollen from the implantation it was hard to read and write to the chip.
These chips, coupled with a mobile phone have about a <1.5cm effective range in air, but when you include swelling and a padded dressing, that range drops dramatically.
Until we switched our dressing out for a tiny bandaid we were consistently having read / write issues that made us both very nervous.
Happily we discovered our tags DID work perfectly.
As per the end of the video above I did worry about the implant pushing against my steering wheel or the handlebars of my bike.
The placement of my tag (as detailed in the previous blog) proved to be no issue, I did not feel the chip on the wheel, even on what could have been the most sensitive day.
I think the recommended choice of placement is about as optimal as you can get.
Next time on Life as a Cyborg, we will discuss my first experiments with using the chip, and how I think I broke it.
WE WILL SEE YOU AT THE SAME BAT TIME & THE SAME BAT PLACE!