In a longer (and quite interesting) article about implantable technology, CNN points out the Southpaw project: an implantable subdermal compass.
This is really interesting reading and not for those easily weirded out. Southpaw is the idea of Lepht Anonym, a Scottish woman and biohacker, who does these things. The biohacker movement is not new, but the interest in wearables is driving the market for components that are particularly suited for implantation.
Southpaw is more than a thought experiment but less than an actual thing. The general idea is to take the North Paw wearable compass anklet from Sensebridge (pictured here) — presumably made for people without a sense of direction — and make it suitable for insertion into your body.
On the one hand, ewww. On the other…
It’s even tricker than it sounds, and it sounds pretty damned tricky. Besides shrinking the electronics, there are issues of power, user interface, and just general biosafety. And note that the talk we’re linking to here is from a year ago, and that the Southpaw project has been kicking around for at least three years. Technologies that would move this forward have advanced tremendously in the last year.
Of course, this is not anything that will be in the immediate general commercial future. Not, at least, in this form. But we do have the funny feeling that this is a real future — if not for everyone, then for a not-insignificant population. How different is it, really, from pacemakers and insulin pumps?