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Researchers Push Implanted User Interfaces 84

Posted by timothy
from the well-if-it's-good-enough-for-cadavers dept.
MatthewVD writes "A new, user interface-enabled generation of electronics that you wear under your skin could be used for convenience, or even pleasure, rather than medical reasons. Scientists at Autodesk Research in Toronto have implanted electronics with user buttons, pressure sensors and LEDs under the skin of a cadaver's arm and wrapped in artificial skin. The electronics could buzz you when you have an appointment, carry memory cards with data, or connect you in a social network with others wearing electronics."
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Researchers Push Implanted User Interfaces

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  • Is it practical? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05, 2012 @06:51AM (#39900523)

    Isn't it better to have external gizmos? Electronic thingies tend to break, be obsolete, be hacked, be stolen.
    All of the above get a lil' worse when the stuff is right inside you.
    All of this without the orwellian aspects taken into account.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Instead of just getting mugged, you get dismembered!

      Behold, the march of progress.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, it needs a whole new philosophy for gadgets. Works first time; long-term value; doesn't break easily; doesn't need digging out and updating every couple of days. It's worth having some implanted gadgets just to get the electronics industry thinking like that.

    • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @07:25AM (#39900639) Journal

      On the one hand, what you say is absolutely correct. On the other hand, being a cyborg would be really, really cool...

      • On the one hand, what you say is absolutely correct. On the other hand, being a cyborg would be really, really cool...

        Professor Warwick, is that you?

        • On the one hand, what you say is absolutely correct. On the other hand, being a cyborg would be really, really cool...

          Professor Warwick, is that you?

          is that the guy who swallowed a watch battery and thought he was lawnmower man?

      • by msobkow (48369)

        Until the alarm clock sewn into your arm won't shut off properly due to a software or hardware problem, and you have to throw your self across the room at the wall in hopes of getting any more sleep... :P

    • Nanoprocessor tattoos are where it's at. Cyberpunk 2020 here we come! It may be a dystopian future but we'll have the coolest toys.

    • What are the potential health effects of having implants like these?

  • Here it cums... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shadesOG (2457562) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @06:56AM (#39900543)
    'electronics could buzz you when you have an appointment' I'm sure this will be used for only appointments.
    • by slick7 (1703596)

      'electronics could buzz you when you have an appointment' I'm sure this will be used for only appointments.

      And a heart plug via Harkonen inc., when you're two minutes late.

  • by alphatel (1450715) * on Saturday May 05, 2012 @06:58AM (#39900555)
    For a time...I was tempted by the offer. 0.68 seconds, to be exact. For an android, that is nearly an eternity.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 05, 2012 @07:13AM (#39900605)

    What happens to copyrights when you can "record" what you see or hear via implants? Does this mean if you walk into a theater you cannot remember/record what you've just seen or heard?

    • by xOneca (1271886)
      No implants will be done without DRM. Trust me.
    • by bratwiz (635601)

      What happens to copyrights when you can "record" what you see or hear via implants? Does this mean if you walk into a theater you cannot remember/record what you've just seen or heard?

      If you're talking about all the crap they show onscreen these days, I can't remember it anyway. Don't need electronics for that.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who owns the servers that these things connect to? Because that's who will own you.

  • by Ptur (866963) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @07:16AM (#39900613)
    Yay, looking forward to the operation every two years, to upgrade or repair.... seeing how long it takes for electronics to break these days, or how long hardware/software is supported by the manufacturer.
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Theoretically you could implant only a wireless interface and the main module would stay outside, like in pacemakers.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        That sounds great - I always wanted to be hacked!

        • That sounds great - I always wanted to be hacked!

          Well, we can arrange that. Just wait while I fetch the axe ... ;-)

      • by antdude (79039)

        You still have upgrade/replace those internal interfaces. :(

    • takes on new meaning.
    • by bratwiz (635601)

      Yay, looking forward to the operation every two years, to upgrade or repair.... seeing how long it takes for electronics to break these days, or how long hardware/software is supported by the manufacturer.

      Yeah, I can see it now-- Apple newest implantable "iPud"... complete with exploding battery....

    • by urusan (1755332)

      We'll just include that in your regular body maintenance, using stem cells to rejuvenate your body every two years as well. This will also serve to better heal any surgical wounds.

      If we're really serious about cybernetics though, we should make it easy to remove and replace them whenever possible. For instance, a cybernetic eye could be designed so it can be popped out of the eye socket and replaced (though this should probably be done in a clean environment with medical supervision). Location-agnostic equi

    • by antdude (79039)

      This is why I refuse to get an hearing aid implant. With external analog Oticon 380p (my third one of the same exact model since its release in the mid 1990s/90s), they last about five years and then I have to buy a new one. Hey, old stuff still works for my poor hearing. No lame implants. I can take it off easily too when I don't want to hear. Also, my head needs a rest without headband pressures. No need to worry about inside parts breaking inside of me.

  • by luckytroll (68214) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @07:17AM (#39900615) Homepage

    Neat technology, but the use of cadavers is a little disconcerting.

    Now we will have to fight off bluetooth and WiFi enabled zombies in the coming apocalypse.

    Luckily for us the Zombies will probably be content to use WEP and 2GHz. No worries!

    • by xOneca (1271886)

      Now we will have to fight off bluetooth and WiFi enabled zombies in the coming apocalypse.

      Wait, not yet! I'm finishing a download!

    • by flonker (526111)

      This gives a whole new meaning to zombie process.

      "Well, you see, it's not a dead process with an entry in the process table. It's more of a process running on a dead person who still has an entry in the process table."

  • I am confused now, depending on where they are implanted; could I use a Trojan to stop the spread of trojans?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So, does this mean I can get my own "Like" button now?

    • by Dekker3D (989692)

      Personally, I'd say "like" buttons in various shapes and sizes come standard in the human body package. I'd dare bet that you've played with one of yours in the past week. Perhaps even the last 24 hours.

  • by Green Salad (705185) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @07:22AM (#39900627) Homepage

    I think a recall an 80's sci-fi book called Steel Beach by John Varley with this technology in it. What's interesting to me is that the main character was a journalist who was an early-adopter of tech and had refused to update his skin-deep tech for newer embedded technology, because he had mastered his tech and found the new interface annoying. I identified with the interface curmudgeon in him.

  • The end result (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grayhand (2610049) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @07:28AM (#39900645)
    How long until we are encouraged to get "subsidized" implants so we get helpful reminders about "special offers". Then one day I find myself getting offers of dick pills in my sleep by my subsidized implants. I find touch interfaces annoying enough so why on earth would I be implanted with a device that will be out of date in a year? Implants mean being tracked 24/7 and being at the mercy of those making the implants. Already there's talk of companies requiring implants to access facilities. The first time I saw some one had been implanted with a tracking chip I didn't say how wonderful I got the cold sweats. Most people are sheep which means I get swept along with what they'll accept. Great our new computer system at work requires implants so I either agree to it or I get fired or handed a broom. Can't happen? Flown on a plane lately? They practically require DNA. Everyone accepts it because it makes us "safer". Millions of people jump through hoops and give up rights without a shred of proof that it makes us safer and yet they accept it. Before the technology moves forward I want a law banning a requirement to have the implants for any reason. Fine if it's an option but as soon as ANYONE requires you to have it to have a job or access a bank account our freedom is long gone. People can say how cool all they want, the first time a chip in my arm vibrates to tell me I have a new spam e-mail is the moment I dig it out with a dull spoon.
  • Is the Orwellian aspect where we could have mandatory health care which requires sensors for 'health monitoring' reasons...
  • by fish waffle (179067) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @08:04AM (#39900761)
    What a stupid idea. Who the hell wants to carry around a cadaver's arm just to use their electronics?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      What a stupid idea. Who the hell wants to carry around a cadaver's arm just to use their electronics?

      It's the opposite of hands free!

    • What a stupid idea. Who the hell wants to carry around a cadaver's arm just to use their electronics?

      Not only that, it seems that they want you to wear the cadaver's arm under your skin! Talk about stretch marks. Let's hope that this is just the 1st generation of the technology, just like 8" floppies were some time ago.

  • Just fantastic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I mean what could possibly go wrong?

  • by hey! (33014) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @08:37AM (#39900877) Homepage Journal

    I once had a boss who had raging and untreated ADHD. Opening up my calendar in the morning felt like emotional abuse. The last straw was when we got new phones with a walkie-talkie feature. I couldn't get twenty consecutive minutes to myself to get anything done without being interrupted by the damn ba-beep and having to respond to whatever popped into his head.

    I can imagine a few useful applications of implanted technology, like keeping all your medical records handy. But even those are only acceptable if you have a simple and fool-proof way of stopping someone from activating them when you didn't want them too. The ease of getting away from a gadget is a pretty important feature, but it's one we take for granted because up until now we *haven't* implanted gadgets in our body. We're understandably more focused on making stuff easier to carry than on getting rid of it. The desire to implant technology because of the current inconvenience of carrying devices around is like a guy who is five feet tall wishing he was twelve feet tall. If his wish were granted pretty soon he'd see the advantages of being only five feet tall.

    The only really killer app for a technology like this is enslaving people. Justice Louis Brandeis, in his landmark paper on a legal right to privacy, defined it as:

    The right to be left alone—the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by a free people.

    • So... I take it your not going to install the mute/sleep/shutdown options? I will be.

      Aditionally, I take my phone(s) to work every day. In the last year I've forgotten it(or them) maybe twice. Both times it has annoyed me all day. the other 363.25 days I don't recall regretting bringing it once. Maybe it's just me.

  • by FridayBob (619244) on Saturday May 05, 2012 @09:02AM (#39900991) Homepage
    So, when is Johnny Mnemonic going to run into trouble at the airport?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Who called these clowns 'scientists'? Seriously, what scientific is about stuffing buttons and other crap into a cadaver? Real scientists, who believe in validity of their research, experiment on themselves.

  • Carrying out chips could be very useful, but it's also very scary and dangerous. What if we're forced by law to have these things inserted? We could be tracked and monitored continuously in the name of safety from terrorism. Though part of me knows chipping is inevitable: It is too powerful to resist for governments and large corporations.

    " . . . and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to rec

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The "Mark of the Beast" is any device , contrivance or means:

      1. mandated by one or more organization(s)
      2. whether having the monopoly on violence or not
      3. that permanently marks or is implanted in a human body
      4 for the purposes of continuing a lifestyle where previously was not required
      5. by reason originating from or contaminated by the political decision of any such organization(s)
      6. with death as the resulting penalty for the rejection thereof.

      However, believing in such matters would be grounds for ostra

  • If you haven't read it yet, time to get a free edition of Cory Doctorow's book [wikipedia.org] foretelling exactly what we're talking about here- not so much for originality as for an interesting account of what it would be like to digitally and physically transcend mortality.
  • by PPH (736903)

    Microsoft has been getting under my skin since 1975.

  • If my brain can instantly re-play sound and video, on demand, from implants, that might be a very cool thing to enhance my hearing aid.

    I wonder what it would do to the "right to copy".

  • I hope that people, especially in the US, take the opportunity to actually think this through. But I'm not very optimistic.

    With this sort of gadgets, the issue of control becomes even more important than for external gadgets like phones, ipads, net-enabled dishwashers and other appliances.

    The reason is that you can't really remove the stuff, it knows where you are and who you are, you can't easily control what it tells the world about you, and you can't easily ignore the inputs it provides. In other wor

  • This is already being done covertly under the modern MKULTRA programs [karlaturner.org] as a way to behavior modify people with neurotechnological mind control [youtube.com].
  • I already got mine. Check out the pPod:

    http://sugarmtnfarm.com/the-apple-ppod/ [sugarmtnfarm.com]

    Great little implant.

  • by surd1618 (1878068)
    My fundie parents showed me a movie, long ago, concerning the biblical rapture and tribulation. This horrible cheasy film from the 70's called A Thief In the Night [youtube.com], got me to think that when people started wanting to put a computer chip in me, that it would be the Mark of the Beast.

    So now I wonder, do large numbers of Christians believe that? Or more generally, would religion present a major hindrance to implementing any system that only used implants?
  • The electronics could buzz you when you have an appointment, carry memory cards with data, or connect you in a social network with others wearing electronics.

    Is that really the best they could come up with? An alarm clock, a PDF file, or a Like/Share button. Gosh I bet it will also help you save recipes.

  • "user buttons, pressure sensors and LEDs " Why would you want to interface this way? This will obsolete very quickly. Its direct brain interfacing you need. This is when it gets truly useful.

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler

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