Bioglass or not bioglass?

This is probably a question for Amal I guess.

I’m looking at the Industry & Logistics range of embeddable glass tags from HID. Unsurprisingly, all the distributors of those tags sell them as asset tracking devices for… industrial and logistics purposes. So, not intended for meat.

But in the PDF from HID, it does say the housing material is bioglass. Why would they say that if the only purpose is to stick them inside objects? Is there some subtlety I’m unaware of with respect to what that terminology means?

The layperson I am thinks bioglass is bio-compatible, but maybe it means something else in marketingspeak - like it’s been made using only free-range sand that’s been fed bio corn or something :slight_smile: Or maybe it just plain doesn’t mean anything at all…

I’m tempted to order a HID Glass Tag SLIx 4x22mm and have it autoclaved and installed by my favorite piercer. I’m not even sure it’s autoclave-safe, but I suppose if it still works after coming out and things don’t look all melted inside, it should be okay. But I won’t do any of that if the glass is unsafe or unknown.

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So reading that sheet they should be. Looks like they are meant to be in medical tools?

Autoclave runs at 121C to 130C.

If I understand their sheet, they have a peak temp of 140C for 10 hours.

Edit: Also noted they sell just the internal, what if there was enough demand for Amal to buy the insides, and house them with his stuff?

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Ah yes true, I didn’t see the temperature ratings.

What makes you say they only sell the internals? Looks like they sell complete, sealed devices to me.

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They do both it appears.

I figure that if there is a demand, he could just buy the internals, and do his magic to them.

That would be nice. But I have a feeling Amal has enough on his plate lately :slight_smile:


True, but you never know.

If it’s this stuff, it is biocompatible. The composition is:
45 wt% SiO2, 24.5 wt% CaO, 24.5 wt% Na2O, and 6.0 wt% P2O5

It’s easy enough for HID to put transponders in glass, even if they don’t intend it for human implantation. In addition to being biocompatible it’s also chemically inert, so you can place it in a variety of resins and other potential reactive materials. Encasing it in glass also prevents any microscopic sparks in the electronics from igniting flammable gases.

This could also be intended for “asset tracking” cattle, or even in medical applications like embedded in a hip replacement pre-insertion

In looking at their product list, it doesn’t seem like they have anything that is specifically unique, except maybe their products might be provisioned for HID access control whereas our chips are baseline chip configurations. The other thing of course is the size… 4x22mm… monstrous. We do have some 4x34 chips we made for a horse application… NTAG216… read like a flexNT but glass… huge glass… not worth the size if a smaller flex can achieve the same performance.

If I had to guess I would say these are probably biograde glass but the question becomes surface quality… it might be ok as a material but processing might score the surface or create future biofouling issues. The other question is sealing… these look to be laser sealed instead of flame sealed, which avoids the introduction of contaminants during the sealing process. Finally, since the actual composition of the glass and the wall thickness is unknown, it’s hard to say how it might hold up to physical abuse. In the early days I autoclaved a set of 100 test units and about 93 of them shattered in the relatively low pressure environment of the autoclave. The ones that survived would still not be considered safe for implantation, but they came out looking just fine… so N of 1 is not really what I would consider safe.

My question though is why…

It seems like their LF chips are basically an EM41xx tuned to slightly different center frequencies… “unique” is often a general term used to describe an EM4102 which is now replaced by the EM4200… but the T5577 in the NExT or xEM still blows this away with its re-programmable features… so nothing interesting there.

The EM4305 and FDX-B chips can also basically be fully emulated by the T5577. Not sure about the HDX chip but that’s an obscure animal ID chip so who cares really… and then in the 13.56MHz range we have the “Vigo” which appears to be an ISO15693 chip of some kind… can’t find any specifics on it, but probably not all that interesting since it has less memory space than the ICODE SLIX2 they list next to it (xSLX).

So apart from some odd 125khz chips in the upper list (Nova & Titan), I’m just not seeing a compelling reason to bother?


Thanks Amal for the detailed answer!

Well, I have a 3mm diameter chip in my hand and it doesn’t feel that big. It’s certainly not as long though. I just figured 4mm is only one more millimeter - at least in diameter :slight_smile:

I also saw 34mm-long implants for sale on Alibaba (like here for instance). But it’ll be a cold day in hell before I implant something I bought from Alibaba.

There is no ISO15693 Flex.

I didn’t know that was an issue as well. Hmm, it looks like implant-making might be harder than just hygiene and material safety after all :slight_smile:

When you say biofouling, you mean like bugs getting into the surface cracks that can’t be removed? Wouldn’t autoclaving take care of them also?

Yes, I did wonder about that. Especially chips that long. Although the 22mm / 4mm ratio (5.5) still makes somewhat compact, and presumably more resilient. The 3x14 in my hand is 4.7 times longer than it’s wide, so it’s not too far off, and it is holding up just fine. The 4x34 format would be 8.5 times longer, and that feels awfully twig-like to me.

Also, I was considering implanting it somewhat deeper along - and close to - a long bone to act as a splint of sorts. Like in the forearm, an inch behind the wrist, between the radius and ulna.

And yeah, wall thickness, and whether it’s completely or partly filled with epoxy, is a big worry also. Although I figured the device is made for industrial applications, so surely it’s tough enough to withstand rough handling. But maybe that’s wishful thinking.

I agree. Too many unknowns.

Thanks for the heads-up!

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I’ve done this, but AliExpress. The seller freaked when he found out. Did not want to sell to me. I also managed to find one seller capable of making an xM1 but they refused when I said what it was for. Don’t worry, after discussions with Amal I’ve since decided this was a poor idea. It might be cheap but it’s not worth it. (Also, only Amal has the 3mm injectors. Nobody else could provide them).

I have a spent non-DT 3mm injector that says otherwise :wink:

Anyway, re the 4mm chips, I didn’t expect them to come with a needle, obviously.

Well, nobody in China could. I imagine the other actual chip providers could source them or have them made, but there wasn’t any demand except for that

You could probs get a sample of one of these and swap the chip out… :man_shrugging:

Checked those, all sellers I had could only do 2.12 in injector. 3mm was bare.


bit of trivia… there are specific lengths because we get the tubes cut that way… they are 36mm long when we put the goodies in, but melting the end with a fricken laserbeam makes them a wee bit shorter.