Longevity of biopolymer implants

Hey all, I just wanted to ask a question about the longevity of biopolymer implants. I was talking to people on the discord last night and it put my thoughts in order enough to actually ask questions. I don’t think I’m comfortable having an implant in my body for any longer than ~2 standard deviations before the mean time to failure. Whatever that period of time is, I’m pretty sure it’s longer than five years for these biopolymer implants given that I haven’t heard of many failing in the ~5 years they’ve been available, and I’d be comfortable getting one and keeping it for 5 years given what I know now. But 20 years from now the difference between 25 years on an early adopter’s implant and 20 on one that I hypothetically got tomorrow doesn’t look so big anymore, and I’d be a lot less confident about its continued integrity since it’s not impossible that mine could fail first.

I know that the exact material you’re using is super secret and everything, but is it perhaps similar to something that’s been well-studied and known to last on average for X years, or maybe you’ve been able to confirm that it’s better than a material that fails after Y years? Barring that, I suppose I could just remove and replace if I ever feel like it might fail?

Basically I want an apex whenever they do come out, and I want someone to convince my anxiety brain that it’ll be fine.

Pretty sure it wont break down until you die.
Maybe like single molecules will get lose or something but I expect that’s about it.

When I got my PAY (first and only flex) I tooked at the first implantation of a flex, afaik that’s been several years ago.
From flexNT product page:
Dangerous Things founder and CEO Amal Graafstra underwent the first installation of a flex beta device on 03/02/2016

So for me it was an easy decision, it proven that they hold up 4 years, the PAY expires in 4 years, all good.

The product has undergone some typical tests; also from flexNT site: the material itself has been tested safe for permanent implantation.

At the end of the day, it’s a very new product, no one knows, nobody had this implanted for 10 years.

I bet amal has seen some flexes that were implanted for years, and if there was any sign of the body breaking it down alert his customers. He didn’t, so all good. And if nothing happens after 5 years, will something happen in 10, 20? Will your body chemistry change extremely? You gotta know if you want to take the risk, I certainly will, because you know Apex and I deem the chances of a flx failure very very very low.

When the Apex comes out I’m going to get my flexDF removed in the same install session. I’ll see if we can avoid handling it with metal tools, and then put it under a microscope so we all can check it out. I’ve had it in since March 2019, so ~2.5 years by the time I get it out.


Are you reusing the same pocket from the flexDF?

Yes, probably. For science.

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Best of luck to ya, I’d love to do the same, but I wasn’t too sure about it.

Not an answer to your question, but this should help show you at least a level of durability to expect

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@anon3825968 was working on a test rig for bending them in a more controlled way, but my understanding was it was a different concern, more the survival of the antenna/chip not the degradation of the costing
(I miss Rosco)

I wonder if it could be coupled with some kind of immersion testing like the Titans underwent

100 flexes, 24hr soak in psuedo body juices, check function, repeat


I can say that the polymer has three important qualities;

  • ultra low moisture absorption rate
  • very high resistance to abrasion
  • very high resistance to chemical interactions (acids, bases, solvents, etc.)

It seems to me that the few failures I’ve seen of a flex device that involved the polymer and not some mechanical failure of internal components we’re mostly down to problems with the processes by which the devices were encapsulated by the polymer. Our process now is dialed in and through the wonderful efforts of @turbo2ltr almost completely automated.

The good news is that these types of failures have to do with moisture wicking its way in and the internal components slowly failing. The characteristics are common which include a slow degradation of performance until finally the chip can no longer be read. Just like slowly submerging an electronic component in water. The moisture infiltrates very slowly and furthermore does not really make much of an effort to get back out, meaning ions from copper or other contaminants from the internal components don’t really have time to make their way out, unless you leave a dead implant inside you for a long time.

Ultimately, failures of flex are more likely to occur because of a process problem and not necessarily failure of the polymer itself. To be clear I’m saying that the polymer will not break down or degrade, but moisture may find its way in if there is a defect in manufacturing that allowed this type of failure to occur.


I noticed that these are all measurable on a much more fine-grained level than failure/no failure, which makes me feel better because it’s not like you have to just stick it in your body and wait. Also I like the idea of using the electronics in the implant as a canary. I’ll have to think about it, I guess.


Ultra low as in “it’s not 0% but effectively 0%”?

Yes… less than 0.035% across the average.

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Per year? And if so, at what point do the first signs of failure start being seen

No this is until saturation point, upon which it will no longer take on further moisture.

As detailed above, a failure due to moisture infiltration will typically present as a slow degradation of RF performance over time ranging from 72 hours to several weeks, depending on the infiltration rate.

To be clear the material itself will, practically speaking, not allow moisture to pass. However, the process by which we perform the encapsulation does have the potential to create certain pathways for moisture to flow into the internal components if done improperly, incompletely, or if contamination of some sort enters the process (like a fiber from a sweater for example).

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