Re: Cyborgia

From: Adrian Tymes (
Date: Sat Jan 20 2001 - 17:51:43 MST

Ziana Astralos wrote:
> On Fri, 19 January 2001, Adrian Tymes wrote:
> > I'm actually trying to work out how this could be
> > done as a business, drawing up a business plan to
> > shop to investors. Not sure if I'll actually go
> > through with it (there are other opportunities
> > coming up), but I'd be glad to share the (very very
> > rough) draft plan with anyone here who wants. Or
> > maybe I could post it here: it's a < 20K HTML doc.
> Well, *some*one needs to go through with it :-) I'd be interested in reading that.
> > Does this list support attachments?
> I'm pretty sure it does. (seem to recall seeing a few previously, but I might be wrong)

Then here it is. Again, this is a *very* rough draft, with a couple
effectively blank parts. I've tried to modulate the pitch towards
your standard banker (Shock Level 2, at most), with emphasis on how to
start out. The hope is that whoever goes through with this could, once
the business has its act together, use funds from one stage of tech to
fund research into the next, including research into how best to get it
to market.

I've also got one (~29K) for a space launcher business, along the lines
of XCOR but with more advanced engines (and thus, potential for better
end result), which I could post if people want. I am, in fact, leaning
towards this one, but I can only effectively pursue one of these if I
go after either of them. So let it be said explicitly: if anyone who
reads this or the other plan is inspired to take it and run with it,
you need not seek my permission; it is not in my interest to enforce
any IP restrictions on these documents at this time, and likely will
never be.

Either way, I'll need help - a team to pull this off, as much as
funding to get equipment and pay salaries. And the best way of getting
both that I know of is to polish these into solid documents, then start
shopping them around to investors and to people who might know someone
who would be useful in starting these up. I'm looking for refinements,
both to the plans themselves and to the plan of using them.

Implant/Augmentation Business Plan Draft 0.1

Table Of Contents

Problem Statement
Proposed Solution
Target Markets
Design Of Products And Services
Outside Components
Product Development Plan
Marketing Plan
Financial Projections
Stengths/Weaknesses/Opportunites/Threats Analysis
Management Plan


For decades, science fiction writers have noted the possibility of using technology to upgrade the human condition. Agriculture, industrial processes, computers, and other applications of human ingenuity make our lives very different from that of our hunter-gatherer ancestors thousands of years ago. But the stuff human beings are made of has not changed that much, and the resulting limits still place a cap on humanity's potential. We propose to change that, in a safe and effective way so as to gain many customers - and so as to gain much profit. (See Proposed Solution, paragraph 3 for a quick example of how.)

Problem Statement

Biologically safe implants have been around for decades, but the field has recently experienced many breakthroughs. Silicon chips that can directly link human neurons to computers and machines have been a commercial reality since at least early 1999. New methods of growing human tissue are being published in science journals every few months. Runaway pets can now be tracked with a radio tag inserted just under the skin. Massive investment in biotechnology seems likely to produce many more such advances in the very near future.

However, when it comes to using these on people, almost all of the applications are focused on simply repairing or aiding people below the human norm. For instance, prosthetic arms and legs are used only to replace limbs already missing; anyone with an intact arm which happens to be unusable due to arthritis or the like is out of luck. Most scientific papers on decoding human nervous signals are careful only to mention applications to the disabled, if they mention applications at all. The only significant exceptions are where public notions of "normal" are already skewed towards an ideal, for instance with liposuction and eye surgery.

The main reason is not a lack of technology or interest. Many professional athletes and their support staffs try to increase athletic performance by any means possible, so long as they can hide the more artifical means from sports officials. Devices outside the body which increase personal ability typically meet with wide support, as perhaps best demonstrated by the worldwide adoption rate of cell phones. Mood altering drugs have a long history of use and abuse, including the two most popular modern ones, alcohol and caffiene.

It is mainly public perception which frowns upon seeking to improve oneself in this way, and for good reason. Modern history is filled with failed attempts to do so, with publically tragic results - most notably, the eugenics programs of the Nazis, the most well known piece of which is more widely termed the Holocaust. Further, these attempts are usually done by organizations which do not bother to address public concerns, thus raising much fear even if they are in fact utterly benign. A good example is the above mentioned pet tracking tags: there is public debate about applying the same technology to certain classes of people, for instance children, the mentally ill, and convicts, where the tracking is justified by their classification; yet simply leaving the tag active will deny them their privacy even when they grow up, get cured, or are reformed and returned to society.

Proposed Solution

One way to change public perception is to change the public's perceived reality. If implants that augment body functions achieve widespread use, few will continue to deny their potential, and the path will be open for all kinds of upgrades of the human condition. Of course, the trick is to how to get that widespread use in the first place.

One path that seems promising is to develop a few basic applications of the technology and get it into the hands of early adoptors. Standard market penetration strategies can be followed from there, while the revenues are used to develop more advanced applications. This requires a business to develop, manufacture, and sell these applications, and a business requires profit. Fortunately, there are some applications which do not require much initial development, and should be rather easy to sell once on the market.

Perhaps the best initial application is a simple device that sits in a person's gut and converts fat to electricity, by artificially stimulating metabolism and capturing the resulting energy. When the device's battery fills up, it could discharge to some external device by induction (not conduction, since that would damage body tissue). Later generations of this device might power other devices, but the point of the first generation is simply effortless, zero willpower, 24/7 calorie burning. Given the number of obese Americans, and the lesser but not insignificant percent of overwieght people worldwide, this should prove rather popular - provided it actually works at a decent rate. Since the first versions may require minor surgery to install, we can also require distribution through doctors, who will naturally act to prevent PR disasters like letting anorexics abuse the device (since it would be their reputation, even more than our product's, which would suffer from such an event).

Another possibility is a memory chip or other data storage device in the arm. This would use the body as nothing more than a casing. It could communicate with the outside world via a cuff wrapped around the arm near the chip, with which it would talk via induction. The same induction, at higher power, could also be used to recharge the device's batteries. Among the potential applications here is medical records: barring loss of arm, this chip would always be present and scannable by properly equipped medical personell. Another potential use would be data security: if all accesses to the chip are logged, and if the log can not be erased without erasing the rest of the data, then - even if any encryption were broken, and even assuming contact so slight the user never notices at the time - the user will at least know if the chip has been accessed by someone else (again, barring loss of arm, which would definitely be noticed). There is also the coolness factor (one possible catchphrase: "Let me download that to my arm"), though it may be best to passively, not actively, emphasize that in case some people use active marketing of this to brand the company as irresponsible.

Further applications, for instance powering the above mentioned chip with the above mentioned converter, or artificial muscles, or coatings to strengthen bone, or any of a number of other possibilities, can be brought to market using funds from earlier applications. There is a potentially infinite supply of science fiction material dealing with this area if our own inspiration runs dry. Ideas are not the problem - implementation and acceptance are. Implementation is largely a matter of developing the technology and getting it through the standard clinical development cycle. Acceptance is largely a matter of getting real world examples of the technology in use, to prove what it is and is not.

Target Markets

(Need to determine best target markets in detail. Possible points: