25.7.19

grindfest 2019 and the big ol prototype

it's been a long time since i wrote anything for you guys. i will get the health stuff over with first: i'm having the Mental Health Fun Time, basically. things have escalated pretty badly in the last couple of months, & when this happens i pretty much can't do anything else. once again, i'm really sorry if you've been contacting me & didn't get a reply. the bigger my inbox & DMs get, the worse it is, and stupidly i know i'm making it worse by not checking them but that doesn't make it any easier to break through the barrier. right now the biggest problem is me, really. i shan't go into gory details, but it's been rough. i am very grateful for the access i have to doctors, psychiatrists, hospitals etc. - but also for the care & support i get from everyone in the biohacking community who knows me. you have all been fantastic.

as for Grindfest: it was incredible. i haven't been as happy as that since i was a kid. i got to travel to a beautiful place - the desert was gorgeous, and the butterfly migration we saw was like something out of a fantasy novel (a river of thousands of red and black butterflies all flying towards wherever their destination was. it was awe-inspiring.) i also got to meet Cassox, and see many friends, and everyone was lovely. we had a BBQ, we learned some useful practical techniques, there were electric knife fights, i tried every American junk food item i could. it turns out Twinkies are weird, but tasty. i brought back Lucky Charms too.

more importantly, i also had an experimental device installed. for legal reasons i'm not going to go into which of us did what during the actual install procedure, but it started off when my friend Mixael brought this little "pirate box" device in. tiny little guy, has USB storage and wifi antenna, users just connect to it via their phone or PC and they can download / upload files, anonymously chat, etc. we started to think about taking the cover off it, and at that point we all sort of looked at each other because it was immediately clear this might make an interesting subdermal device. so over the next few days it got gutted; more talented people than me took off any extraneous components, replaced the battery with a wireless charging coil, soldered the USB storage down, and filed off the corners. because we took the battery out, the device is now operated through use of a wireless charging pad held close to it on the skin; that's not ideal, but this is a prototype after all. Cass coated it with about a hundred layers of resin-type stuff (it's proprietary, i'm not sure what exactly it IS but it performs like a dream) to bioproof the device. after that had cured it was time for the installation.

there's film of this somewhere around, but the op was done very professionally in Cass' lab. the lab is an absolute dream - spacious, easily cleaned, with two main working rooms and one sort of clinic room. it's all organised to perfection and has pretty much any equipment or supplies you could possibly want for a biohacking project, from weird cell biology shit to full on opening someone up and stuffing in large electronics. the latter, obviously, being what we were doing.

we chose to put the device in my upper right arm, rather than the thigh as intended, due to worries about chafing. then we injected shitloads of lidocaine, and made a horizontal incision in the arm, which was then held open with retractors while a pocket big enough to hold the device was carved. at some point i recall we had to stop and put more lidocaine in, i think because the corners hurt more to carve out than i thought they would? anyway i bawled like a big baby at some point but it got installed in the end, and stitched up with a drain to help get rid of some of the fluid. i went off home (via a missed flight, but friends helped me sort it out & it was all OK in the end) and once i got back, pulled out the tube. this caused a large backup of about 50ml of fluid to spurt from the incision, completely overwhelming the little bit of sterile gauze i was trying to clean it with, which in turn surprised the hell out of Paul and kind of ruined the rug. was worth it if you ask me.

the incision healed up well, but slowly. this is probably due to me smoking or something rather than the quality of the work done, which was excellent. i took the stitches out a couple weeks later with no problems. the fluid buildup did cause the implant to look very raised, but this has subsided over time & didn't require draining like i thought it would. overall the install went pretty smoothly, i think. it's all healed over now, save one corner that's still a little red. no idea what's up with that but if the device fails, it fails, & we've gained some valuable information about how long these devices can last, positioning, usage and things like that.

here is the device while it was healing up:


looks pretty dramatic, no? it's all gone back to the right colour now, & there's a badass scar where the incision was. this is what it looks like today:


kind of gnarly still but i wasn't a beauty queen to begin with, ha. hopefully the device remains in situ for a good six months or so, i'd consider that a success. (and the scar is cool as fuck.)

speaking of gnarly, the janky finger was also fixed at Grindfest, much to my surprise. a lot of weird shit came out, all tiny pips of neodymium scattered throughout the white tissue making up the lump. the incision wasn't too big, probably about 1cm length, and sealed up perfectly. i took the stitches out on the plane home & had to explain what i was doing to the poor woman seated next to me. i don't want to get the person who did it in trouble so i'll just say that this procedure (and the installation of the device above) were done with superlative skill and care, and i'd recommend them any time.

that's pretty much everything. i won't be able to make it to Defcon, for those asking, but may well be able to come to "Please Try This At Home" in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in September. i'll figure that out in time. meanwhile love and best wishes to you all, especially D, Vicarious, Mixael & Cyberlass. you have all been wonderful people.


L

2 comments:

Dan Campbell said...

Wowwww. Talk about progress. Still scary to imagine these types of procedures ; some of us will never get used to hearing about it. But this was fascinating.

I hope you get the deluxe model, after the prototypes have been improved.

Sorry about your ongoing issues, as always. I'm just glad they didn't stand in the way of these experiences, the things you've learned, and the confirmation that you're loved all over the world.

It's always exciting to read a Tweet or a blog post from you Lepth, thanks. Get better soon, if possible, and keep in touch with us adoring fans.



"there's film of this somewhere around,"

Not so fast, young lady. When you're feeling better, please post a link.


"it's all organised to perfection and has pretty much any equipment or supplies you could possibly want for a biohacking project,"

If Lepht and Paul every decide to immigrate to the States, they will rent an apartment upstairs. Biohacking heaven.


"and kind of ruined the rug. was worth it if you ask me."

Damn right it was worth it. Full agreement. Science comes at a cost, and sometimes that cost is washing or replacing the carpet.


Wow. That scar looks almost like a castle. It's amazing how these things take the shapes of familiar objects sometimes.


"but i wasn't a beauty queen to begin with"

No problem. I would gladly trade in my vast stunning good looks, for the cause of science.


"i'd recommend them any time"

... but, I can't tell you who they are. But you should definitely use them, if you can figure how their names & contact info.



Take care Lepth, have a good weekend.

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[pls no ask about the vodka. debate is always welcome. remember, Tramadol fucks you up]