27 June 2017

Cats Pyjamas

Slow news day? The ABC features an item on biopunk Mr Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow (formerly Stuart McKellar), under the heading 'Sydney man has Opal card implanted into hand to make catching public transport easier'.

The item states
If you have ever been caught fumbling for your Opal card at the ticket gate, a Sydney man may have found the solution. He had the chip from an Opal card inserted into his hand and is now tapping on using the technology that is implanted underneath his skin. 
Bio-hacker Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, his legal name, had the Opal near-field communication (NFC) chip cut down and encased in bio-compatible plastic, measuring 1 millimetre by 6 millimetres. He then had the device implanted just beneath the skin on the side of his left hand. 
"It gives me an ability that not everyone else has, so if someone stole my wallet I could still get home," he said. He is able to use the Opal just like other users, including topping the card up on his smartphone. However, his hand needs to be about 1 centimetre from the reader, closer than traditional cards, and he sometimes needs to tap more than once, due to his device's smaller antenna. 
"My goal is to have frictionless interaction with technology," he said.
Mr Meow-Meow had his device implanted by a piercing expert, in a procedure lasting approximately one hour.  He warned others not to do the same without expertise and research. "Most certainly don't try this at home unless you know what you're doing," he said. 
Mr Meow-Meow said there was a risk of bacterial infection whenever anything was implanted beneath the skin, so it was important to consult professionals. "Be aware of the risks involved and make a wise judgement based on that." 
He also said his actions were a breach of Opal's terms of service, which prohibit tampering. "It will be really interesting to see what happens when the first transit officer scans my arm," he said.
The  officer might be more impressed by Mr Meow-Meow's given and surnames, which gained some attention when he stood for parliament.

Last year Bloomberg reported
If your name is Meow Meow, there’s a decent chance you’re an unusual dude. This holds true for Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow, a polyamorous, trans-humanist bio-hacker in Sydney. In 2014, Meow Meow opened Australia’s first do-it-yourself bio-hacking lab, in which anyone could pay a membership fee to experiment with DNA and make whatever creatures they could imagine.
For people familiar with the VeriChip controversy there is more bite in 'Towards insertables: Devices inside the human body' by Kayla Heffernan, Frank Vetere and Shanton Chang in (2017) 22(3) First Monday