Can we steal take inspiration from this idea?

The Times, the BBC, amongst others, are reporting this week of a significant breakthrough in transdermal technology. Scientists at University College London, and their corporate partners Stanmore Implants Worldwide have developed a method of allowing skin to heal, around transdermal implants such as prostheses for replacing amputated limbs and digits.

This is a wonderful example of the increasingly popular methodology of biomimesis, where chemists, engineers, architechts and those from a massive range of other disciplines take inspiration from and try to copy or replicate tools already evolved in the natural world. The theory of biomimetics is that if nature already has an elegant solution to a problem, why not attempt to synthesise that solution and apply it to a range of other situations? In this case, the UCL researchers realsied that, whilst humans have great trouble healing strucures which protude outwards from under the skin, deer, with antlers that are fused into their skulls but protude through the skin, sealed by a sturdy and impenetrable skin pocket, have no such difficulty.

You can see a sample image (from the BBC) of the type of solution they developed, based on the root structure of deer antlers. The subdermal base s full of tiny holes, which allow the skin to “mesh” into the implant and successfully incorporate it into even really motive areas like the thumb. It immediately struck me that something similar to the implant prosthetic these scientists have developed may be one direction in which the body modification community might be able to push cosmetic transdermal technology beyond the dismal rates of success it currently achieves. I sense implants with porous bases that are dotted with tiny holes would be immensely difficult to remove, but they’d certainly gain a massive amount of stability, and be effectively sealed from the types of inward travelling infections that have been documented in this community recently.

Any thoughts?

16 thoughts on “Can we steal take inspiration from this idea?

  1. I Have always wondered why traansdermals didn’thave a rougher surface. Even the new breast mplants hae a textures surface to allow the tissues to grow into it better.

  2. The shot of the implant in the finger just makes me think of Inspector Gadget.

  3. It’s certainly something worth looking into, does anybody know if that design has been tried by anybody other than research scientists yet?

  4. It does of course raise the question of “do you really want to stick something under your skin that you’re not going to be able to take out easily?”…

    …but then again people do that with ink every day.

  5. I haven’t heard of anyone in the mod community doing anything much like this… it’s a nascent research project as far as I can tell. I’ll try and get a copy of the journal article when it’s published, it might prove useful.

    Of course, these specific implants are ‘intraosseous’, in that they are anchored IN THE BONE, and so are way beyond the technical capabilities of anyone who’s not a qualified surgeon, but it’s not a great leap of imagination to see how the porous mesh can be adapted for trnasdermal implants that sit between skin layers.

  6. My father’s company specializes in making porous stainless steel and Ti parts.

    He told me they worked on a project like this to implant electrodes into rats heads, but the problem was that having porous protrude from the skin left the wound open for infection.

    That part however looks like the porous would go under the skin and solid metal would come out, cool idea

  7. Ok, so my comment doesn’t really apply to the modding community, but..

    If they are able to attach implants to the remaining bone on someone’s thumb stump, why can’t they stretch the skin in that area, and create a prosthetic thumb that attaches to the bone under the skin – similar to sub-dermal teflon implants. Wouldn’t that create an essentially infection free prosthetic? (after healing, of course)..

    From there, you could hook up electrodes and bionics under the skin, right?

  8. Wow, what a Déjà Vu…
    I have this strange feeling that this is the third time I’ve seen this EXACT post on ModBlog…

  9. I’ve wondered about the porousity of transdermals myself; I know that one of the good things about Ti is that tissues adheres to it very nicely when it’s not polished. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the base of a transdermal be rough sandblasted finish then, instead of a mirror polish?

    Oh, and: Me Want!

  10. matt:

    Maybe tey could potentially do that with a finger, maybe, if it’s only the tip or something…

    But a whole finger?
    how about the potential this opens up for people missing a whole leg?

  11. Hmm… It certainly opens up a lot of possibilities. Strangely I had a similar idea of using porus or ‘perforated’ metal in the design of implanted scales. I’ve been trying to design a way that someone could have realistic dragon scales. At first I thought it could be done through tattoos, but no matter how good the artist is it will still have the lack of dimension and irridescence(sp?)

    I think it would rightly kick ass to develop ‘real’ scales though. Imagine all the possibilities for shapes and patterns, let alone colors, shinyness, thickness, subtle shapes, and even things as simple as whether they would overlap or lay side by side. Possibilities abound!

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