We take testing very seriously. Here are the various tests we've put our x-series tags through so far;
Vacuum test to 0.42mBar
In this test, we placed an xNT into a special multi-phase lab grade vacuum freezer and took the pressure down to 0.42mBar, which is extremely high vacuum. For reference, Mount Everest is 29,035 feet tall, and the pressure at the summit is around 301.3mBar. To even get close to the kind of pressure / vacuum we achieved in this test, you would have to go into low earth orbit without a space suite on. Even at 30 miles up (158,400 feet), the pressure is still around 1.3mBar. So we think it's safe to say our x-series tags will survive the vacuum of outer space without breaking.
Liquid nitrogen test
We wanted to see if the x-series could survive the freezing process, both structurally and functionally. We dropped an xNT into a canister of liquid nitrogen, let it settle for a few seconds, then removed it and immediately tested it. Not only was the glass intact but the xNT was able to be read with an NFC smartphone, and the data on it was unchanged.
EMP testing with "disc launcher" electromagnetic pulse machine
The x-series is already MRI compliant, but sometimes you need to know if your implant will survive the EMP generated by a nearby nuclear blast. We're happy to say yes, it can. The disc launcher is a machine built to launch metal discs 50 feet into the air using nothing but an electromagnetic pulse. In this video, we placed an xNT on the launch pad and placed a plastic cup overtop just in case. We're glad we did, because the xNT was launched off the platform and rattled around the cup for a bit. Once it settled, we could see the glass was intact and it was readable by NFC smartphone! The data was intact as well... nothing was corrupted. Amazing!
Growth test (sterilization testing)
We test both the inside and outside of our x-series transponders for complete sterilization. The outside is important, but x-series tags also have a small amount of airspace inside the glass that is not filled with components or biosafe epoxy resin. It is important to test that airspace to ensure it is also sterile, just in case someone ever breaks an x-series tag while inside their bodies. Even though getting any random scratch would introduce far more bacteria and viral infection risk (that's why we get tetanus vaccine shots), ensuring our products are clean-room assembled and sterile is definitely worth the extra effort. In this test you can see there is no growth on the plate and in the test and control tubes there is no fog (bacterial growth), only the positive control tube has growth (fog).
Cooking an x-series in the oven
We decided to test our xIC tag's compatibility with a gun safe called GunBox. We placed an xIC into a piece of raw chicken, which was then put inside a plastic bag and tested it with the GunBox safe. It worked! But, Amal got hungry and decided to cook it up with the tag inside. After cooking at 375F for 30 minutes, the tag was removed and tested with the GunBox, and it still worked!
Crush testing up to 500N (maxing out the machine)
One of the biggest concerns people have about our x-series tags is "what if it breaks?", which is a valid question. Aside from the fact that people get far worse pulled out of their bodies on a regular basis, if you had something intense enough to break an x-series while inside you, clean sterile bioglass is the least of your worries. In fact, some doctors sometimes recommend you just leave the glass in place because it's more damaging to tissue to remove it.
Still, we decided to see if we could push the limits and see what it would take to break an x-series tag while inside tissue. We decided to run 3 tests:
- one tag just sitting on the metal test plate
- a tag inside two layers of silicone of similar durometer to tissue
- 15 other tags placed in various locations inside several pieces of raw chicken
The naked tag sitting on the metal test plate broke almost immediately (of course). The real surprise was the silicone and tissue tests. Even with a lab grade crushing machine which maxed out at 500 newtons of force, we could not break a single tag that was inside silicone or tissue. We even placed tags up against chicken bone to see if proximity to bone would cause problems, and still we could not get one to break.
So what's going on here? Well, the fact of the matter is, tissue (or a silicone analogue to tissue) will stretch, absorb shock, and generally give way before pressure on the glass tag approaches breaking point. We feel the amount of force it would take to break a tag while inside the body would most certainly mean your body is going to be in really bad shape.. broken bones, torn tissue, etc. so a little bit of sterile biocompatible glass will likely be the least of your worries.
In addition to our lab testing, a customer has taken it upon himself to do some... "unofficial testing".
MRI testing up to 7T
We have our own MRI safety documentation for our x-series transponders that can be supplied to your healthcare provider if you are having issues getting an MRI done because of concerns about your x-series implant.
Be aware, there is a blurring of the image around the area of the tag, but the tag itself does not heat up or explode or get “ripped out”. So, if you need an MRi image taken of the area were you have one of our transponders, you may need to have it removed.
In addition to our safety testing, the MythBusters were kind enough to prove this for us in season 5, episode 19 (MythBusters Revolution) by installing a 134KHz VeriChip transponder into both a piece of a pig and Kari Byron, and running them both through an MRI scan. You can clearly see the image distortion in the episode if you’re interested in seeing what it does to the MRI image.
Here is a PubMed article on RFID transponder compatibility with MRI machines up to 3T; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23763334102 – Functionality of veterinary identification microchips following low-field (0.5 tesla) and high-field (3 tesla) magnetic resonance imaging.
Finally, there is also an MRI Safety website entry for the commercial VeriChip, sold between 2004 and 2010, to which our transponders are extremely similar.