Ghost in the Shell, 8 man, Appleseed, Gunslinger Girl and 009-1 are some of the popular franchises and titles that present our generation's vision of cyborgs, humans with bionic parts. The technology is still in its infancy and the most common application today is in replacing amputated limbs. Nonetheless, Grindhouse Wetware, a biohacking initiative based in Pittsburgh, is taking steps and showing the world the other possibilities with electronic implants.

Warning! Graphic image follows. 

The Grindhouse Wetware team headed over to Dusseldorf in Germany to attend the world's first cyborg fair, which was held from Nov. 6 to 8. As detailed by Motherboard, in Grindhouse Wetware's designated room during the event, Jowan Österlund, a tattoo artist from Sweden, implanted a Northstar V1 light up chip into Shawn Sarver, a Grindhouse Wetware development team member.

"You know, 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," Sarver tells Motherboard. "For this first version of the implant, we concentrated on making it as simple as possible. It's smaller, and hence it's really simple. We plan to keep the implant in for a year."

The entire surgical procedure took about 15 minutes and the Northstar V1 light up implant that got inserted under Sarver's skin is roughly as big as a two euro coin. Note that the current chip is smaller than the Circadia 1.0 chip, which came before it.

"Our first prototype, the Circadia, was so crazy that I could only use myself as a guinea pig in good conscience," says Tim Cannon, a Grindhouse Wetware co-founder who implanted the Circadia 1.0 chip on himself.

Bear in mind that doctors and other registered medical personnels are less likely to sanction or perform this procedure for it is not in line with established medical ethics. Moreover, the people who perform this procedure are those from DIY cyborg communities like Grindhouse Wetware.

"The people at Grindhouse Wetware aren't career academics. This is about passion and citizen science," Cannon adds.

Cannon describes the Northstar V1 as a simple LED for backlighting tattoos and mimicking bioluminescence. However, he is citing more possibilities with the implant, such as syncing it with a mobile device to interpret hand gestures that will, for instance, open a car door or change the TV channel. The Grindhouse Wetware cofounder reveals that the said functionality is being outlined for Northstar V2.

Even with the demonstration, however, a lot are still wary of the risks. Aside from the possible infections, the chip's circuitry, although encased in plastic, contains hard metals, which will get attacked by the body's natural defenses when exposed. There's also the high chance of having severe allergic reaction triggered by the said hard metal. Hence, if you ever have one of these in your body, try not to break it.

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