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4 Posts authored by: e14phil element14 Team

Life as a Cyborg - Day 3 - Implant Migration

 

Other posts are here:

Life as a Cyborg - Day 0 - Implantation

Life as a Cyborg - Day 1 - First day out as Transhuman

Life as a Cyborg - Day 2 - I think I broke it 

Life as a Cyborg - Day 3 - Implant Migration << You Are Here

 

 

In the video and blog below:

We will quickly discuss implant migration and placement.

then in my next blog the experimentation begins!

 

 

During the initial encapsulation period my tag had spun about 45 degrees and moved back a few mm from the initial implantation site as you can see in the image below.

 

impl1.PNG

I was very worried that this could have been an installation issue or it could become an issue in its self.

The angle and movement was not uncomfortable at all, but it was a mobile about 1mm in each direction.

After noticing it was an issue I asked the "RFID Implantee" Facebook group and checked the Dangerous Things FAQ.

 

The FAQ was fantastic as always:

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).

 

The CEO of Dangerous things messaged back after a few hours saying the same and that it looks like my pronounced grip muscles in my hand are responsible.

A quick clench of my hand confirms this, the tag has moved just behind mass of the flexing Thenar Muscle Group.

 

thenar.PNG

 

This new position does not cause me any problems, it is away from my bones and joints and still has enough cushioning to experience a bit of abuse.

 

Now that we have covered the biological and Implantation side of Life as a Cyborg, we will discuss my first experiments and durability.

 

WE WILL SEE YOU AT THE SAME BAT TIME & THE SAME BAT PLACE!

 

- e14Phil

Life as a Cyborg - Day 2 - I think I broke it

Other posts are here:

Life as a Cyborg - Day 0 - Implantation

Life as a Cyborg - Day 1 - First day out as Transhuman

Life as a Cyborg - Day 2 - I think I broke it  << You Are Here

Life as a Cyborg - Day 3 - Implant Migration

 

In the below video and blog:

Holly gives us her rundown of her first few days as a Cyborg

I misread instructions on how the Dangerous Things app works. (please read the clarification below the video)

We explore the apps I use

I will dive a little into locking bytes.

 

 

 

So... I got the wrong end of the stick in regards to have the Dangerous NFC (BETA) app works.

 

I was under the impression it allowed me to lock the tag and only I can write to it, but this is not quite the case.

The CEO of Dangerous Things responded directly to my youtube video with the following:

Correction in regards to app and the locking mechanism:

Just to clarify how the Dangerous NFC app works - it does not lock the tag, it disables the one-time-programmable lock bytes so it cannot be locked (by accident or maliciously). It also protects the configuration blocks and password block itself. More information on exactly what it does can be found here; https://forum.dangerousthings.com/t/dnfc-and-password-protection

 

The Apps

 

d1.PNG

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dangerousthings.nfc&hl=en_GB

 

This is the beta version of our Dangerous NFC app for Android. It will ensure your xNT has been protected against accidental locking or malicious attack. It does this by doing the following;

 

1) Analyze the tag to ensure it is set up in a standard configuration and assess risks

 

2) Conform the capability container to latest NFC standard (E1 12 6D 00)

 

3) Lock the capability container against accidental or malicious modification

 

4) Freeze static and dynamic lock bytes on the tag, locking user memory pages in a permanent read/write state

 

5) Set non-default password and password acknowledgement bytes to user defined password

 

6) Write protect configuration bytes against accidental or malicious modification using password protection

 

The app does not yet do any of the following;

 

- Write protect any of the user memory contents, only configuration bytes are protected

 

- Unlock the tag or disable the password

 

- Write any data to the tag (for now use NXP's TagWriter app for this)

 

Now I am out of the heady thrill of day one, I have taken time to read the documentation better and understand the apps purpose a little better.

Instead of "Locking the tag so only I can write to it" the app stops people from setting my tag to read only.
This is VERY important as I can always re-flash my chip with new data, but if some one wanted to flash my chip with a link to, for example, Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up, Then locked my tag to Read Only..... I might have to chop my own hand off.

 

This is a preemptive process to lock your tag to Read / Write and stop the tag being forced into Read Only.

 

st1.PNG

The Dangerous Things Support Tool will collect tag data and report it to Dangerous Things to assist resolving customer support situations. The tool also includes an option to write an empty NDEF record followed by null bytes to the first 10 pages of user writable memory pages. This is something the Android NDEF library has problems doing when tags have been protected by disabling lock bytes with the Dangerous NFC app, therefor all Android applications that use the NDEF library to "factory erase" or "reset" tags also have issues performing this operation. The Dangerous Support Tool does not use this library. It speaks directly to the tag to get things done.

 

The Dangerous Things Support Tool is a stroke of genius, while the community of people with these tags is below 7000, support is still actively available from the creators of the tag.

I have also found their forums and facebook group to be amazing for support.

 

The use case of this support tool is when you have flashed it with new code or commands and it is not doing as intended. Did you flash it right? Are all the sectors responding correctly? Is your formatting correct?

 

Download the tool from the Play Store, give your tag a scan, and it will dump the sectors as below:

 

"[--------------------------Start of Memory Dump--------------------------]

------------------------Sector 0-------------------------

Block 0  8E 02 6F 66 85 08 04 00 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69  ?.of?...bcdefghi

Block 1  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  ................

Block 2  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  ................

Block 3  00 00 00 00 00 00 FF 07 80 69 FF FF FF FF FF FF  ......ÿ.?iÿÿÿÿÿÿ

------------------------Sector 1-------------------------

Block 4  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  ................

Block 5  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  ................

Block 6  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  ................

Block 7  00 00 00 00 00 00 FF 07 80 69 FF FF FF FF FF FF  ......ÿ.?iÿÿÿÿÿÿ

------------------------Sector 2-------------------------

Block 8  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  ................

Block 9  00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  ................

Block 10 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  ................

Block 11 00 00 00 00 00 00 FF 07 80 69 FF FF FF FF FF FF  ......ÿ.?iÿÿÿÿÿÿ

------------------------Sector 3-------------------------

Block 12 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  ................

Block 13 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  ................

Block 14 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00  ................

Block 15 00 00 00 00 00 00 FF 07 80 69 FF FF FF FF FF FF  ......ÿ.?iÿÿÿÿÿÿ

------------------------Sector 4-------------------------"

(Sectors shortened for practicality)

 

Then you have the option to send the support info direct to the creators of the chip.

If the chip is at fault, they intend to send you a replacement.

 

Removal and Replacement

If worst comes to worst you can remove the tag, unlike the ones used in animals, the manufacturer does not coat the tags in Biobond or Parylene which would normally help the tags stay put in mans best friend. Humans are more likely to need a replacement due to a miss placed hammer swing or a bad day with the car door where as animals are more active during the encapsulation process and more susceptible to migration.

I will talk more about tag migration in my next blog and video.

 

The process of removal is a little more painful but follows the same process; find a registered body mod expert, poke a hole, press it out.

They can even replace the device at the same time.

 

NEXT BLOG: Life as a Cyborg - Day 3 - Implant Migration

Life as a Cyborg - Day 1

Life as a Cyborg - Day 0 - Implantation

Life as a Cyborg - Day 1 - First day out as Transhuman  <<You are here

Life as a Cyborg - Day 2 - I think I broke it 

Life as a Cyborg - Day 3 - Implant Migration

 

 

 

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

 

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.

 

First Month

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.PNG1.PNG

 

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.

 

2.PNG 3.PNG

 

 

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.

 

Practicalities

 

Range

 

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.

 

nfc.PNG


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.

 

Driving

 

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!

- e14Phil

 

NEXT BLOG:

Life as a Cyborg - Day 2 - I think I broke it

Please note:
Scenes of piercing are show below but
No Blood or Gore is shown in this blog or any of the accompanying videos,

Other posts are here:

Life as a Cyborg - Day 0 - Implantation  << You Are Here

Life as a Cyborg - Day 1 - First day out as Transhuman

Life as a Cyborg - Day 2 - I think I broke it 

Life as a Cyborg - Day 3 - Implant Migration



It was the 22nd of April 2017 15:00, my phone lights up with facebook notifications, change of plan, it’s GO time.

My partner and I change out of our casual clothes into something a bit more presentable, grab my camera, with a shade of cowardice I pop a few painkillers in the hope to defend against some of the perceived (but false) impending pain.

What I didn’t know is that I would be introduced to my new cyborg family and our joint 2nd birthday, 22/04/17.

We were not to become Human 2.0 but something closer to Human 1.2.

This is not a work of fiction, on the 22nd of April 2017 my partner and I got dressed and jumped into my car to attend a so-called #implantParty where we were implanted with a Dangerous Things xNT NFC chip.


Leeds International Festival, a tech and art festival in the North of England, had invited Hannes Sjob (@hsjob) and Keren Elazari (@k3r3n3) to fly in from Israel and Sweden respectively.  They flew from their own countries to give a talk on Biohacking, Cyberpunk & Hacker Culture.

 

image

I had known of this talk was for me since the first week it was announced, I, like Keren was massively influenced by 1995′s “Hackers”, “Ghost in the Shell” and 1999′s turn of the millennium western cyberpunk classic, “The Matrix”.

From the moment I heard this talk was going ahead, I booked tickets. On the booking page, there was one line that blew my mind:
“If you’re brave enough, you’re able at the event to get a live chip implant onstage too.”

I had watched the Vice documentary about Dangerous Things:
The Man Biohacking Encryption From His Garage

I had watched Keren’s Ted Talk:
Hackers: The internets Immune system

I had just finished rewatching Ghost in the Shell and reading the manga in anticipation of the Scarlett Johansson’s remake.

I was ready to join Major Kusanagi.


I bought tickets for my partner, knowing what and opportunity this was I proceeded to assault the Facebook and Twitter feed of the organisers trying to find a method of signing up to get what would have been a $100~ implant for free, zero, zilch, without shipping, import tax, even without having to pay a piercer or a private medic to “install” it in a safe manner.

I heard nothing.

The day before the event I read a post on social media, from one of the lovely organisers, that the chipset WOULD be xNT NFC model from Dangerous Things in the USA.

I got butterflies at hearing this, I knew of their pride in their products, their high standard of construction, their extensive (if a bit ghetto) testing procedures including Amal (the owner of Dangerous Things) having the first model he produced implanted in his hand for 11 years and counting.

On top of this, the NFC model was the one I wanted for two reasons:
1) I have a Google Pixel phone with an NFC reader, I could use this to hand out my business card in a futuristic technical manner.
2) The 13.56MHz frequency is what my current hackspace card registers at,
TL;DR I COULD USE IT TO GET IN AND OUT OF DOORS WITHOUT KEYS!

Tech Specs:

  • xNT tag – 13.56MHz ISO14443A & NFC Type 2 NTAG216 chip
  • 2x12mm cylindrical sterile biocompatible implant package
  • ISO14443A – compatible with all ISO14443A RFID systems
  • Fully NFC Type 2 compliant – compatible with all NFC devices


 

image

 

 

 

 


 

The day of the event rolls around, I get up, have lunch and wait nervously for 18:00 to roll around so that I can head to the University of Leeds lecture hall, watch two amazing speakers and, presumably, thrust my hand in the air and hope to be selected as one of the few people who could get implanted as my wonderful partner waves on from the stands.
.. now.. some of you may have noticed my time discrepancies above, that is because it did not unfold as such:

Sat waiting for 18:00 to roll around, we eat and as it hits about 15:00 my phone lights up as if all the posts on the event page I had made over the past month had been replied to... it turns out they had:

Hey folks! Due to complications with the venue, we're unable to do the piercings there BUT DONT WORRY as we are still able to do them but before the event. 10 places are available

Followed by instructions that it would happen at 16:30 in the north of the city at a well-known piercing parlour.

I had a Sherlock Holmes out of body moment as I planned our route from the south to the north of the city, what to wear, logistics of keeping my hands clean, messaged a fellow Leeds Hackspace member about the change of plan, I threw a dress at my partner and ran into the shower... Let's do this!

I had spent enough time thinking about infection, my family history of auto-immune diseases, not getting tattoos or piercings.
If I trusted anyone to implant me with a sterile microchip the size of a grain of rice, it would be these speakers, this brand, this event and this studio. It felt like the metaphorical moons had aligned.
This year I am 30 years old and had an experience with a severe spinal injury that really made me think about how safe I have been playing life so far, I could be run over by a bus tomorrow or become paralyzed, so let’s do something a bit dangerous for the progress of science and my cyborg street cred.


16:30, I step into Rude Studios in Leeds, I scan around the room, 5 people, MADE IT!

 

One, I know, the others I do not, but they will become part of my Cyborg Family and share in an experience I never thought I would have.

 

image

 

After a quick chat with Hannes, fresh off his flight from Sweden, we sign a consent form, get a quick briefing and are directed into the piercing room, where we meet Luke, the first man to stab me, just a little bit, FOR SCIENCE!

image

(Photo Credit Ben Bentley)

Luke, wearing nitrile gloves, sterilises his work surface, lays fresh paper down and asks which hand I would like my implant in, as I am right handed I opt for my left hand

Luke mentally finds the trapezium and trapezoid bones where the metacarpal bones of my thumb and index finger meet.
Next he finds the first proximal interphalangeal joint (first knuckle) of the index finger, then halves the distance between the bottom of that joint and the top of my carpometacarpal joint. Then taking a biosafe pen, marks the insertion point.

 

image

 

 

 

image

This point is chosen because:

1) low risk of damaging major radial and median nerves
2) low risk of damaging major blood vessels
3) low risk of damaging tendons or their synovial sheaths
4) plenty of soft tissue to help absorb blunt force impacts
5) good distance from bones to avoid pinching and crushing

Once this is has been marked, he opens the sterile package containing the sterile NFC implant within a sealed injector, gauze and importantly sterile gloves.

image

 

Lukes professionalism and hygiene best practices show as I notice him move from the standard piercing and tattoo gloves to the sterile gloves included in the implantation kit.

The nitrile gloves protect him from any biohazard coming from the person that is being implanted or tattooed, whereas the sterile gloves protect me from infection as he breaks my skin with the needle.

Big breath in.
Slow breath out.

My cowardice is unfounded, the implantation is no worse than any time I have had blood drawn at the doctors, just a little bit more of a sting.

I am now a cyborg.
A piece of technology is now part of my body, working to compliment my other features.
This is an upgrade of choice, I am Human 1.2, unlike people I like to class as Human 1.1, upgraded by doctors to help fix defects such as pacemakers, insulin pumps.
I am lucky to have been able to choose my upgrade and it that my upgrade be purely for scientific interest and life improvement rather than forced life extension.
I get a sticky plaster and the proverbial lollipop for good behaviour.

Luke looks to my partner Holly and says “Next!”, motioning for her to sit down. Wires had been crossed, she had not intended to be next, never mind be anything but a supportive partner (and very good looking camera stand).

She grabs hold of the moment, she asks if there is enough for everyone... and within 2 minutes ...

WE are cyborgs.

We step into the waiting room where Hannes is waiting to give us a lesson on programming our NFC chips.

I type HELLO WORLD. /Write

 

We step out onto the streets of Leeds new, upgraded and excited with the possibilities ahead.

 

I will be documenting our ongoing adventures in cyborg in a series of Blogs and Vlogs.
Make sure you subscribe to my e14 account and Youtube channel to hear more, also more technical nitty gritty experimentation to follow!

 

NEXT BLOG:

Life as a Cyborg - Day 1 - First day out as Transhuman