Natalie and I arrived in London on Tuesday for the kickoff meeting with Phaedra. We first discussed what is included and not included in the term temporary implant. Does temporary mean the implant can be removed (which includes pretty much everything), is designed to be removed (like dental braces), is biodegradable (like sutures), or …? Does implant only include things inserted into the body (like pacemakers), or does it include things interfacing between the body and the world (like catheters and other ports), and/or things placed on the body (like contact lenses)? Can we include drugs as temporary implants? Many drugs, and drug delivery systems, are so heavily engineered that they may qualify as tiny machines. The answers to these questions, and more importantly, the avenues we wish to pursue, will hopefully become clearer as we learn more.
We spent some time looking at various body mods, including fingertip magnets and North Sense. I don’t find these particularly interesting. They feel gimmicky, the idea of having a body mod seeming more important than any functionality it provides. We also talked about cochlear implants, birth control, joint replacement, and other examples of things that might be temporary implants. In reference to body modification, we discussed the potential of CRISPR (see this paper, for an example).
Phaedra also showed us around the UCL Knowledge Lab and introduced us to some of the folks there.