Cracked xM1 chip while implanted

Broken Chip

About 4 years ago I got an xM1 chip installed. You can see my excitement post here.

About 2 years later, it stopped working. I know a ton about mifare classic cracking and have taught many classes about it. Well it just completely stopped responding to RF which was weird.

I finally decided to get it out this week so I could replace it with a working one. It’s out and I found out why it failed. The chip was cracked and filled with liquid. That liquid is probably shorting the antenna. Maybe? I don’t know, but it still doesn’t respond.

I had it implanted by c00p3r (who has installed 100s of implants) on the back of my hand. I never hit the back of my hand or felt bruising. I don’t do sports, shoot guns, or anything weird that would have caused it to occur. I honestly don’t know when it actually stopped working just when I noticed it wasn’t working. I certainly didn’t shatter my hand or even have any bruising.

Inside the chip I could see bubbles and clear liquid. You can see a crack in the glass and some red near, on the inside, of the crack (probably blood during the removal procedure).

Here’s a zoomed in photo I took an annotated:

More photos


Stitches photo from removal:

Even with the crack there is no internal damage to me, but there was some fluid exchange between the inside of the chip and the outside. I’m not sure if that means bacteria was able to grow or not, but I have no negative effects except a few stitches from the removal.

Removal

The removal process was pretty easy. I went to my GP and had him remove it. It took two attempts.

He used injected lidocaine to completly remove the pain. On Friday he did his first try with lidocane and cut the spot. He had me sitting up in a chain with my hand on a small table. It was after lunch and I hadn’t eaten, so I almost passed out. Not from pain, just being nervous. That’s just me. Duh, I should have eaten. We had to stop and reschedule. He prescribed me some Cephalexin, an orally taken antibiotic for bacteria.

On Monday we tried again. I made sure to eat and drink a lot of sugars beforehand. He had me lay down this time and I had no more issues being light headed. Make sure you eat! He used lidocaine again and I felt no pain at all. It took about 10 minutes of slowly cutting to find it. He was trying his best to make the smallest cut possible. Since it was on the back of my hand, it was really hard to find. According to my wife, who was watching the whole time, it was really hard to tell the difference between it and a blood vein since it was fully coated. We got it out and he gave me stitches. He said I really only needed 3 stitches, but he gave me a lot of really tight & small stitches so it would heal up pretty.

I’m still taking the antibiotic, and I feel little left-over pain from the procedure. As long as I’m gentle with my hand, I’m sure it will heal fine!

Response from Dangerous Things

I sent them an email and they asked for photos.

According to @amal, this is the first case reported of a chip cracking inside the skin. In my opinion, it’s impossible to prove if it was cracked under the skin or before implantation. It worked for 2 years, but… you just can’t know.

They have offered to fulfill their warranty:

We can also offer you a coupon code for the site if a replacement isn’t what you’re looking for.

Full Response

Personally, I’m a little shaken up because I have some concerns on what the health impact of a cracked chip can have. Stuff could have grown there if it had a better fluid exchange. I still have 3 other implants, and I’m thinking about that a bit more. I’m still very excited about implants and RFID. Mostly the RFID though.

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I made that mistake with my first implant ~10 years ago. I skipped breakfast and didn’t get the implant until lunch time. I got SUPER light-headed, tunnel vision, clammy, sweaty. It was awful. The installer gave me a couple glucose tablets and had me put my head between my knees and in just a few minutes I was right as rain. Won’t make that mistake again!

I totally understand your hesitation. That’s a good reminder to take it seriously if a chip stops responding!

Funny really, a decent piercer is better equipped for fainting than a gp :sweat_smile:

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Thing is, if you apply enough force to break it, chances are you’ll have a significant injury yourself anyway.

Just following up here. I had one crack with 0 bruising or anything. I had no idea it had cracked, just that the chip stopped working.

Was this a Dangerous Things product?

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Yes. Let’s continue via DM for awhile.

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Well I’m actually surprised. From the photos provided it appears we have our first case of a cracked implant. My own spidey sense is tingling though… my thought is that this sort of crack is so unlikely when installed I’m wondering if it was actually cracked or somewhat compromised before it even went into the needle, due to a factory process error. Cracks like this do show up in the glass if I mishandle a “naked” glass ampoule… so I’m not sure if it happened while actually installed. Regardless, it’s a situation that isn’t great and we will work to improve processes to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

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I value @amals transparency as usual,

Sharing any issues or potential issues, honestly makes me trust a brand significantly more

Not that a single cracked chip would be any cause for alarm given numbers

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Is that implant from bashNinja’s hand? (incidentally, with a nick like that, you’d expect the implant to have led a rough life in-vivo :slight_smile:)

What strikes me is how devoid of epoxy it seems to be. I thought they were at least 3/4 filled with it before sealing. But maybe it’s an artifact from the photo.

The other thing that strikes me is how short it is. What model is this?

Of course, you’re welcome to send glassies to test on our drop tester. Matter of fact, I just upgraded it (that’s what I was working on in the workshop last Friday): it goes up to 2,500 G now (was only 1,500 G before). Here’s a video of the new clutch I made, slowed down 16x:

There’s proper space at the bottom to install things to crush too now. So I could stick a DT glassie in a chicken leg and let it rip a few dozen times if you want.

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It’s an xM1 and it’s supposed to be more filled than that but some aren’t apparently.

That would explain why it could have been more fragile. Maybe a dud. Maybe Chinese QC - or lack thereof.

The xM1 is the only implant we had to produce at another factory because magic chips are grey market and we could not get them to sell us the dies only offer production services… I’m making incident report for that factory now to address the crack and the resin issue.

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I too admire your openness, by the way.

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I feel it important to highlight this also,

Few brands or manufacturers admit to issues, even fewer actively take steps to correct things so proactively

In my industry and from my experience, having a perfect track record is worthless to me… I will always trust a brand more that has issues… but deals with them correctly, versus the spotless reputation company

Food for thought. But I used to know a metallurgical failure guy, who was capable of piecing the craziest shit together from analysis and inspection… I wonder if there’s a similar type of specialist for glass that could tell how the crack happened

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To be fair, it’s not exactly like it’s a surprise from Amal. I mean the man baked product honesty into the very name of his company - to the extent that he had to found another one with a blander name to avoid scaring the suits :slight_smile:

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I’ve had a similar thing with my xM1, where it wasn’t entirely filled with resin. Thank goodness I got it out. Even when filled with my blood and fluid, it still worked, and I didn’t really get any side effects (I know of) from it, so it could have remained there for who knows how long.

Do you still have that? did you take photos? did you send it to Amal?

I’m sure he would want to document that for when he submits incident reports

Yup, I sent it off to him already, as well as pictures of the implant.

Yeah that situation is more interesting because it’s not cracked as far as I can tell… I’m hoping to get my own eyeballs on it to figure it out. Did we sort out shipping on that… i mean tracking #?

Yeah, it says it arrived on the 14th in Bellingham.

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