So, being a guy with a disability and an engineering focussed mind, I see problems with BIOtechnology everywhere I look. I’ve worked for and with most hospitals in Oregon, and been a customer of said far far too many times. I walk with a cane 30-50% of the time. Canes are stupid. It’s a stick that you use not to fall. Like cavemen did. Wheel chairs, even the most advanced, are heavy, clumsy, demeaning and stupid. My canes are collapsable mostly, and can be deployed from my bag in a swift movement. This usually involves stopping, waiting for it to snap together then walking. It also requires what the BIOnicLadies call a MAN PURSE be with me at all times. My leg just doesn’t cooperate a lot of the time. BIOtech is broken. We can do AMAZING things with these waves Mr. Hertz found for us, but we can start doing it smaller, faster and better. Just look at Dean Kamen’s Luke Arm!!
I use the cane because my lower back is…as Patrick at Ptown scooters would say “a basket case, maybe good for some parts”. My lumbar disks have caved in and broken. The last one down was removed and replaced with titanium. Being the last one, it takes the most pressure. If you imobilize it and you are prone to broken disks….you break disks. That hurts. My back looks something like this, if all of the lumbar disks were broken:
Sciatica is a refered pain from your back or spinal column that means the Sciatic nerve is pinched or otherwise inpinged. When your disks “bulge” or you get “slipped disk” it means that nerve is compromised. If you haven’t has sciatica, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s a lot like having a wild animal chewing on your leg. All the time. That hurts.
So how do we treat pain in the US? Chemicals. Chemicals are stupid. We have the most complicated machine ever (choose one, don’t look on anyone else’s paper) [created]/[invented]. Why on earth do we want to dump crap into it? Because we can’t figure out the mechanics. Sometimes you need a lube job, sometimes an alignement. What FEW people remember, until someone has a heart attack is that though we are ugly bags of mostly water, we also need electricity. If done wrong, that hurts.
So, we know that pain from the lower extremities traverses the spinal cord using electricity. Why don’t we just send a busy signal by attenuating the signal from pain into say…a pleasant and numb feeling? Well, we do. In fact, that is why I have a BIONIC butt! This technology is NOT stupid. It is not new either. It’s been around 30 years in various forms. I personally went with mine because the company that makes my particular implant had Bionics in the name and they made my grandfather’s cochlear implant. It is also the only fully wireless solution, which is why I really went with it. I charge my implant with a biscuit battery first charged on the wall, then taped to my side. It’s “inductively charged”, like your toothbrush, or a charging mat for your PDA. I change my stimulation level with a remote that looks like a garage door opener. The whole system, including the implanted battery, the leads that are sutured to my spinal column and the remote comprise a technology called NeuroModulation. This particular flavor is called a Spinal Cord Stimulator or SCS. Here is one of a dozen videos on it, until I make my own:
So, without going into much detail, the security is…lacking. It uses a VERY commonly used frequency and has only 1 way authentication. I have found that with an Arduino kit and 1/2 hour I can take over a stimulator. I don’t have a live stimulator other than the one that’s in me, but I can show that with it’s remote controller, I can take over someone ELSE’S body. I don’t hack my own body beyond RFID implants, punching my heavy bag and tattoos, so my POC lacks a live demo other than taking over with an unauthorized remote. Remember, the device doesn’t “see pain” and stop it, it is just on or off at a particular frequency and amplitude.
Neuromodulation is GOOD. Taking 40% of someone’s chronic pain away without drugs is GOOD. Having it relatively easy to compromise and change someone’s level of pain is BAD. That tingling sensation can become insanely painful and crippling if over done. The programming is like the eye doctor, a vetruvian man on screen and a tablet with tingling moving around as a technician says “Number 2 or Number 3″ to which setting effectively makes parts of your body tingle. Being able to move that sensation around without a trained neurologist and technician scares the bujhezus out of me, and I’m fairly technical. I love the tech, but the security needs a good hard look.