Skin grafting for transdermals?

working on a little project with a friend, going swimmingly so far, i think. the biggest issue is, this idea we had requires a transdermal data port. we’re looking at using magnetic cables for this, since the ‘tips’, with the actual plugs removed, are nice and small, and should be relatively flush with the skin when installed. i’m sure most if not everyone here knows why this would be difficult, but i had an idea, and thought i might throw it out here to see what other, more knowledgeable people might think, since i can’t seem to find anything about this online anywhere.

what if the transdermal device had its own skin, grafted into your natural skin? remove a small layer around the area, and have a biocompatible ‘lip’ around the outside of the device to fit above the removed skin, and (hopefully) adhere to it? the device itself would have its own coating, leading into the external ‘skin’ to hopefully keep everything sealed nicely. i’m not the best at explaining things, so if nothing i said makes any sense, i can scribble up a diagram later if needed.

i don’t know what material we’d use, or if such a thing would even work at all, but that’s why i’m posting. thoughts?

Like a plug in from the matrix?

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The idea of an artificial skin that “blends in” with natural skin to create an impenetrable barrier for microbes is the dream of all amputees who’ve received an osseointegrated prosthesis. Those protheses are a fantastic improvement for amputees, and one of the key elements that would enable the creation of fully integrated limb replacements (the other being motor and sensory nerve interfacing). The problem with osseointegrated abutments is, they go through the skin, and the wearer has to take great care to maintain hygiene around the site, because the risk of bone infection is high.

If you solve that particular problem, I’m pretty sure you’ll get a Nobel prize :slight_smile:

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I agree that finding a compound that will “blend” with skin in a seamless way will be difficult, but you may be able to find something that’s good enough for your purposes like parylene or some kind of extracellular matrix goo. You will need to clean it daily and accept the fact that it may end up being temporary, which should affect your design decisions (don’t make it hard to remove).

I think the more important question is why you need the data to be transmitted over a physical interface instead of wirelessly. There are tons of great communication protocols to meet whatever need you have, and if the data rate is too slow, just wait a bit longer. You’ve got all the time in the world when your implant is fully encapsulated. Not so much when it’s transdermal.

Because its cool?


use magnets to secure the technically wireless charging/data cable in the right spot to link up with the implant? best of both worlds?

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Pinch the skin long enough between the implant and the charger and you’ll get skin necrosis.


true but it could be pretty weak magnets I’d think. or hell, go full matrix and built the charger into a chair or something to line up without the need for magnets or anything. bit elaborate, but if it’s the “cool” factor that’s important, that might be part of the fun?

Like this?


Depends on the vibe you want I guess, but that could be pretty funny to me haha. Drop the “helmet” down and have a comically large switch to power the connection (presumably secretly wired into one of the arms or legs or whatever), Frankenstein style.

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kinda, but without a neural interface or any such fanciness.

admittedly, like canuck says, cause it’s cool. i’ve always kinda had a thing for wired skin. but i also feel like, for this particular project, it might be more practical being able to plug in directly, rather than needing a phone or some sort of reader that most people won’t just have lying around. could be wrong, but i don’t wanna say too much about it right now, as talking about them usually puts me off of actually completing my projects.

i guess i was really just wondering if, for any reason at all, this method of grafting biocompatible materials precoated around an implant might make things even a tiny bit easier to heal than trying to heal straight skin around an implant. i suppose it’s kinda silly trying to speculate on that when we don’t even have any materials to speculate with… oh well. i’ll just keep digging around in hopes of finding something worth testing. if this doesn’t work out, i have a couple of other ideas that don’t involve transdermals, i can go float back to those i guess

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…wat? You’re talking about plugging in something with a wire. You would have to carry that thing around, in addition to your phone, which you likely carry around anyway.

Regardless, we probably shouldn’t talk about it if it will drive off your enthusiasm. I wish you the best of luck in your testing.

Transdermals unfortunately are hard.

  • require skill to be installed properly
  • are notoriously very comolicated to keep clean (i.e.: they require lifestyle adjustments)
  • are notorius to simply start to reject for no reason even if you care for them like babies :slight_smile:
    People experimented with sealing tecniques (base texture, base coating…), but there is no easy way to do it and people simply accept the fact that transdermals will need to be removed at some point.
    Don’t get me wrong: I had transdermals on my forearms (bad placement for longevity, btw) for years and loved them, I just want to stress that they are tricky beasts and when (not if) they fail, failure can range from annoying (ugly + need to quickly go through minor surgery), to very annoying (same as above + minor consequences like scars), to BAD (trapped infection and tissue damage territory).
    What’s your experience level with this stuff?

@anon3825968 true necrosis is an issue, but this is not a bad idea for temporary moving of power and data… like snap it on, move your shit… 5 mins max maybe? … then snap it off and walk… could be nice actually.

Absolutely… worked on some coatings once… the bottom line here is that skin is your barrier to infection, and now you want to put a permanent hole in it. The only way TDs are going to work long term is if there is a way to get the skin and tissue to literally bond with the metal or substrate coming out in a way that is actually sealed, not just kinda grown into, but sealed to the point where the skin is acting as a microbial barrier.

That, or trick the body into growing a different kind of tissue structure around the transdermal… something like how gums grow around teeth. Your gums are constantly trying to close up around your teeth, and the way they interface with and grow into the roots sets up a battleground for the constant march of microbes into that space… the body knows it can’t form an actual seal, so it puts the tissue structures to work to trap and kill them… but it is a constant battle waged there… so unless you can get your skin to act the same way, the skin will eventually lose and the device will be rejected as its surface is inundated with invadors, many of which will set up biofilms and other protective measures to establish even stronger surface colonies… it’s called “biofouling” and it is one serous reason why implants must have specific surface qualities. Even a fully implanted, covered, and encapsulated implant can serve as a colonization point for random bacteria floating around in our body… particularly staph… which is everywhere on and inside us.

When a staph bacterium attaches to the surface of an implant, if the surface allows proliferation, that bacterium will go about establishing a colony and producing biofilm over-top of that colony to hide and protect itself from the body’s defenses… until the colony is so large it’s producing a ton of effluent (waste) which often causes certain symptoms in the body, and then the white blood cells go on the hunt… but honestly biofilms that protect colonies are very hard to get through, especially on implantable devices… this is why pacemakers and other implants (usually titanium but also plastics) sometimes have to be removed after only a few years… because the surface has “fouled” and is covered in a giant colony of bacterium… all pumping out crap proteins and other garbage that can make you very ill or even kill you.

Anyway… transdermals are hard.


i’m sure everyone probably knows what i’m talking about, but just in case, this is kinda what i had in mind. rather than trying to coax the skin to adhere directly to the implant, replace the skin with a friendly material already adhered to the implant, through which the implant could be accessed. i’m obviously not a medical expert at all, so my positioning of things on this diagram might probably be ridiculous, but i think it at least gets my point across.

after starting this thread, i almost immediately realized how stupid this idea is tho, as much as i don’t want to admit it. the issue was “skin does not want to adhere to transdermal objects” and my proposed solution was “let’s try to get it to adhere to a different transdermal object.” i dunno.

on the other hand, the magnetic ‘semi-wireless’ solution sammich proposed sounds interesting. i guess i’ll start looking into that, though i’m not a huge fan of the idea of having to make specialized cables for it. i’m saying that without having done much digging tho, so who knows.

There are a bunch of magnet adaptors that clip onto USB C and micro cables. People use them on their phones for an easier connection. Mine is cable of charging and data transfer.

this is what i was originally intending on using for my transdermal idea, i even linked the set i was tinkering with in the original post. i wanted to take the magnet connector tip, remove the actual connector itself from the magnetic bit, wire it directly into my device, and embed that in my skin. however, these all work with metal contacts, that are held in place with magnetic rings. they’re not actually wirelessly transferring power or data. at least mine don’t.

I would disagree buddy, you had AN idea, you saw a problem, and looked for a solution, not stupid at all.
Keep thinking and keep coming up with ideas…

That is exactly how I read it…

Some do, and if you knew that at the time, you would realise how NOT stupid your idea is…
See, great idea, with investigating…
good luck with it

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where would i find such cables? or is there a proper name for them? the only stuff i’m managing to find are like the ones i posted, with the metal contacts held in place by magnets. buh

Random question how often will you plug in?