VIDEO: Radical Beauty: Meet the People Implanting Themselves With Technology * 2023
VIDEO: Radical Beauty: Meet the People Implanting Themselves With Technology * 2023

Justin Worst is the COO on Grindhouse Wetware

A start-up company specializing in developing implantable devices to read a person’s biometric data. He says: “At Grindhouse we firmly believe that with imagination and drive, any of us can feel and touch EMF fields, explore its contours. Sense the temperature of objects across a room, navigate a room using a sonar sense, or even connect your body to the Internet – right now. It is that dream above all that drives us to create.”

He is also an archaeologist, and he has installed an LED device below his skin that is activated by a magnet. A North Star shines – under the skin of Justin Worst, an archaeologist in whose hand the LED device was implanted. A dozen bodies curl together under blankets on a living room floor; more are in tents and in the backs of vans. A laundry alcove is strewn with circuit boards and soldering irons; in a 1980s garage-cum-laboratory, baby chicks chirp in a pen near the door. The mood resembles an alternate universe, what Silicon Valley might look like if a natural disaster had wiped the electrical grid for the entirety of the 1990s, or if Burning Man had devoured it rather than vice versa.


Justin Worst of Grindhouse Wetware shows off the Northstar 1.0

Justin Worst, a biohacker with Grindhouse Wetware, showed off the “Northstar,” a small disk-shaped hand implant that Grindhouse is hoping to turn into a gesture recognition device. At the moment it’s a mostly nonfunctional prototype that does little more than light up underneath your skin, but with Northstar 2.0 you could perhaps wave a finger to have your phone pull up a specific app, saving yourself a number of taps in the process.

He said: “You had to have some hacking and programming background but we just kind of gave people all the parts to make their own and through a bunch of extra stuff to see what people would create. Unfortunately, a lot of people didn’t realize that was the goal, so we discontinued it.”

Grindhouse had trouble commercializing North Star as well.

Justin Worst said: “Before we developed the device, we had a lot of people who said they wanted to buy them, but once we made and put a price on them, a lot of people said they didn’t have the money or didn’t think it would cost so much.”

To be fair, at $350, the North Star is an expensive accessory. Only 15 people — many of them affiliated with Grindhouse — have implanted the device. None of Grindhouse’s members having given up their day jobs.

Worst admits his company’s goal is to turn a profit but, like the other startups we spoke to, Grindhouse hopes to invest those funds into developing better devices. They also acknowledge the importance of patents in today’s market — even if trade secrets are at odds with the open source ethos the biohacking community was founded on. For Grindhouse’s part, they plan to follow the “Elon Musk plan” of patenting initial versions, only to open source schematics after the product’s second or third iteration.


Justin Worst, an archaeologist in whose hand the LED device was implanted * Todo lo relacionado