If this is the future of body modification, it is bright, well, at least the lights are. Tattoo artists are beginning to implant LED lights beneath people's skin in an effort to illuminate their ink with the latest technology from Grindhouse Wetware. The Pittsburgh-based biohackers developed the silicone LED chip, known as Northstar V1, for aesthetic purposes only. It is nothing more than a sub dermal implant—a body modification.
According to Grindhouse Wetware, "With the use of a magnet, you can turn the high definition LEDs on in a star pattern." In the coming year, they plan to release Northstar V2, which will have Bluetooth capabilities and gesture recognition that will allow users to control electronic devices with hand movements. Northstar V1 essentially turns you into a firefly.
Grindhouse Wetware developers were the first to go under the knife to test Northstar V1. Swedish tattooist Jowan Österlund implanted the LED chip beneath their skin, but not beneath their ink. The process is extremely bloody, so if you intend on watching the video below, consider yourself warned. It also involves you getting stitched up after the artist lifts the skin and inserts the chip.
This isn't the most bizarre technology hailing from the biohacking group, they also have created an implant that reads and sends biomedical data to the internet via Bluetooth. This device, Circadia, also syncs with your Android phone to display messages on your skin through LED lights.
Ultimately, tattoo artists are body modifiers and their responsibilities sometimes include piercing and dermal implanting. While it is still early in the game for Northstar technology and the biohackers as a whole, Grindhouse Wetware is on track to something big.
The implants are not exactly supported by the medical industry, so we advise individuals interested in Northstar V1 to take their time before lighting up. Also, the LED chip is not yet on the market.
We're excited to see what this does for tattooing in the future and if in fact the LEDs enhance our ink or overpower it.