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Professor Rejects Camera Implanted In His Head 138

Posted by samzenpus
from the bad-ideas dept.
Stenchwarrior writes "A New York University professor temporarily removed the camera he had surgically installed in the back of his head to get rid of one of the apparatus' parts after his body rejected it, myFOXny.com reported Wednesday. Photography professor Wafaa Bilal was in near constant pain after part of a thumb-nail-size camera, implanted in December as part of an art project commissioned by a new museum in Qatar, was rejected by his body."

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Professor Rejects Camera Implanted In His Head

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  • by Jophish (1489121) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:38AM (#35173842)
    Did it never occur to him to just strap a camera to his head? Or just wear a hat with a camera on. Methinks that the main reason for having this implanted was to generate publicity for this project.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Art isn't practical, reasonable or logical. It's art.

      Captcha: "congress", also not practical, reasonable or logical.

      • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:48AM (#35173986) Homepage

        Art is not practical, reasonable or logical.

        Thus, everything that is neither practical, reasonable or logical must be art!

        • by Anonymous Coward

          That, sir, is a brilliant literary masterpiece.

        • Non sequitur.

          Things that are neither practical, reasonable or logical may be art, but they may as well be simply stupid.

        • by StikyPad (445176)

          Your words are so artistic.

        • by Chris Burke (6130)

          Thus, everything that is neither practical, reasonable or logical must be art!

          Yes. Everything that isn't directly and solely related to the practical actions necessary for survival is art.

          Just don't confuse "art" with "art that's worth a damn" or "art that isn't complete shit" and this won't bother you. :)

          • by noodler (724788)

            "Yes. Everything that isn't directly and solely related to the practical actions necessary for survival is art."

            So me pissing on someones head from a bridge must be pure art then?
            O.M.G. i'm an artist!

            • by Tetsujin (103070)

              "Yes. Everything that isn't directly and solely related to the practical actions necessary for survival is art."

              So me pissing on someones head from a bridge must be pure art then?

              Could be, actually. Why not?

              Whether anybody wants to come see your performances, or the gallery opening where you exhibit photos of yourself doing this is another matter entirely.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        I dunno, what about architecture? You know, having a building look good and have a style but also be ultimately functional?

        • by lgw (121541)

          This is very clear: architecture becomes art exactly where you fail to do the things one normally expects a building to do. Have a river running through the house? Art. Have all the walls transparant so there's no privacy? Art. (These are real-world examples, of course.)

          If a building or car or whatever is quite functional, but looks appealing, that's marketing.

    • by DrXym (126579) on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:21AM (#35174470)

      Did it never occur to him to just strap a camera to his head? Or just wear a hat with a camera on. Methinks that the main reason for having this implanted was to generate publicity for this project.

      I think you nailed it. Only an attention whore would do this and it sounds like the bugger got his attention too. And a septic head.

      • It's plain stupid. Now he has no choice but to stare at people behind him all day long. How uncomfortable is that. I think he'll end up removing it permanently at some point, or wearing a beanie cap to cover it until times when he "needs" it.

        • by timeOday (582209)

          It's plain stupid. Now he has no choice but to stare at people behind him all day long.

          That is the whole point. If he just wore it like a backwards headlamp, he could take it off at his convenience, which would defeat the purpose of committing to live with it as if it were natural. Even if he had the discipline to never take it off, his audience couldn't be sure. That does matter in an art project.

          • by Kenoli (934612)

            That is the whole point. If he just wore it like a backwards headlamp, he could take it off at his convenience.

            He could cover the installed camera at his convenience just as easily. The only point is publicity.

        • "Professor's Head Differentiates Itself from London Citizenry"
      • by pclminion (145572)
        This was, you know, part of an art piece... What is art for if not to draw attention? For that matter, what's wrong with doing something "out there" and drawing some attention anyway? Are we all supposed to behave like soldier ants all the time?
    • by nautsch (1186995)

      Methinks that the main reason for having this implanted was to generate publicity for this project.

      You think?

    • That was the first thing I thought of when I first heard about this teacher. How much did it cost him in medical bills to implant a camera in his head? I'm sure insurance didn't cover that. (If it did, what kind of plan is he on?!!) How much less would it have cost for him to take a $5 hat and install a camera in it? Then, when you inevitably needed to replace some camera part (or the entire camera for an upgrade), it would be relatively easy to do. Either remove/replace camera or just get a new hat.

    • by Kozz (7764)

      Why didn't he wear a strap on?

      I swear, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that... well .... *uncomfortable silence*

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The only time the body rejects anything, is when donor tissue is of a different immunologic background - thus the need for immune supression drugs after organ transplants.
      Metal and plastic items don't typically mount an immune response, but rather either become infected, or becomes encased in scar tissue which might bother some local nerves.
          Seeing that this camera was mounted with part of it outside his body, I'd say that it became infected, which tends to hurt a lot.

    • by Gilmoure (18428)

      A big cowboy hat that buzzes?

  • Stupid art tricks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bradley13 (1118935) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:40AM (#35173882) Homepage

    This is right up there with locking yourself in a cage for month - a totally meaningless, useless trick meant only to get attention.

    • Re:Stupid art tricks (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:49AM (#35174002) Journal

      Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, I'm clearly no art critic and claim no deep understanding of art, but what does this bring as "art"? This brings no insights and adds nothing. And frankly, the fact that it's funded by a new museum in Qatar makes it worse in my eyes. Places like Qatar and Abu Dhabi have demonstrated that they have more money than sense for decades, building one extravagant, useless building after another. This "art" project is about as artful as having a toddler splatter his spaghetti on a canvas.

      • by Lakitu (136170)

        Places like Qatar and Abu Dhabi have demonstrated that they have more money than sense for decades, building one extravagant, useless building after another.

        People have said the same thing about America for almost as long as it has existed.

      • Given the fact that these days absolutely anything can be called "art", I think it's entirely fair to say that absolutely everybody is fully qualified as an "art critic".

        If this moron can call his publicity stunt "art", then I feel fully justified in critiquing it as "complete idiocy". More importantly, as per above, nobody can dispute my opinion (not fact!) as invalid in any way.

        • by timeOday (582209)
          You are certainly entitled to your own opinion about any piece of art, yes. Whether you are qualified as an "art critic" is something for the audience of your criticism to decide. Do you have any insight that others have found worthy of listening to and/or paying for?
          • by spxero (782496)

            People listening/paying or not is not a defining attribute to being an art critic. It is to being a popular art critic, but not just being an art critic (or critic of anything else, for that matter). If the audience is only himself, he is still a critic.

            Just as it is completely in the "artist's" right to call it art, it is in our individual rights to determine if we consider it art. And likewise it is up to the population as a whole to determine if it is important or inane art.

            Personally, I consider this in

          • You are certainly entitled to your own opinion about any piece of art, yes. Whether you are qualified as an "art critic" is something for the audience of your criticism to decide. Do you have any insight that others have found worthy of listening to and/or paying for?

            timeOday's criticism of Omega Hacker's art criticism is a powerful journey through the pupil of a discerning eye and into the mind of one of the great art critic critics of our time. (I'm an art critic critic critic.)

      • Places like Qatar and Abu Dhabi have demonstrated that they have more money than sense for decades, building one extravagant, useless building after another.

        I agree with what you're saying, but that particular part just makes it sound like the rich guys in Qatar and Abu Dhabi care quite a lot about art.

      • This brings no insights and adds nothing.

        Your failure to derive insight from this only speaks about you, not the work.

      • Let's change the subject slightly

        Yeah, I totally agree. I mean, I'm clearly no astronomer and claim no deep understanding of the stars, but what does this bring as "science"? This [routine observation] brings no insights and adds nothing. And frankly, the fact that it's funded by a new observatory in California makes it worse in my eyes. Places like California and New Mexico have demonstrated that they have more money than sense for decades, building one extravagant, useless telescope after another. This "s

    • by mysidia (191772)

      This is right up there with locking yourself in a cage for month - a totally meaningless, useless trick meant only to get attention.

      In the US, hundreds of thousands lock themselves in a cage every year by committing misdemeanors and getting jailed.

      • Or getting a job..

        • by mysidia (191772)

          Or getting a job..

          No... that's much longer than a month for most people.

          If you are constrained by the job, that could be a life sentence.

          The rumors of "release" (also called retirement) are vastly overstated

    • by numbski (515011)

      Is there no clinical use for the experience the doctors gain by doing an implant of this type? I mean obviously they learn what it would take if we ever got an optic implant that restored vision to the blind? Whatever the "part" was that got rejected, seems like valuable information to me.

      • Is there no clinical use for the experience the doctors gain by doing an implant of this type? I mean obviously they learn what it would take if we ever got an optic implant that restored vision to the blind? Whatever the "part" was that got rejected, seems like valuable information to me.

        The "part" that got rejected was a simple dermal anchor he had put in at a tattoo/piercing shop...and it wasn't "rejected", he just got an infection. Even though the news has reported otherwise, the camera was NOT implanted in anything, it was simply hanging from hooks he had stuck under his skin, just like the skate punks you see at the bus stop have.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    His body rejects the camera that the professor had implanted. You know, they're totally not one and the same, the professor and his body. How dare you disobey your master, body? Perhaps the news should read "Professor apparently dumber than his pierced students, mutilates body for art project, suffers as expected."

    • I wonder if it really was rejection or just an infection. A Google [google.com] searched showed every site using the term "rejection", but since they just copy-paste from one another, I don't take it as evidence. Rejection is an immune reaction against an implanted tissue/organ. It is usually against certain proteins on cells, so it is a bit strange to have a rejection to a few screws in the head. OTOH, any foreign body can harbor bacteria and cause in infection - which would cause "near-constant pain".
      But I guess "reje

      • Everyone is used to body modifications through hardware. Piercings, dental fittings, artificial joints, etc are all very mundane. This camera isn't much more exotic than dentures that snap in to a titanium post. It's certainly less impressive than an artificial hip. However, if you use the word, "rejected", you make it sound like it's somehow more tightly integrated with his body. You further the hype that this guy is somehow more of a cyborg than if i were to hang an ipod nano from my earring.
      • Or there is a third option. The body does attempt to expel forign objects, or failing that to encapsulate them in a covering in order to prevent poisoning. Even non-living objects. They end up inside cysts. That's why implants have to be made of or at least coated with bioinert materials - you can't use just any old metal. It took many years of research just to find a way to transfuse blood without it clotting in the needle or tube. If that's whats happening, I imagine that the dumbing-down in reporting wou
        • What you refer to is called Foreign Body Reaction [wikipedia.org] which is pretty much how you described it: a reaction that encapsulates the foreign body so it is effectively "outside" of the body (i.e. separated from it). I am not sure this is related to what causes blood to clot outside of blood vessels.

  • Well.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by RevWaldo (1186281) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:47AM (#35173966)
    ...I guess he didn't see that coming.

    .
  • The cia will just need find a new pain free one

  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:50AM (#35174024) Homepage
    I'm surprised that this artist was the first to try implanting a device, as Steve Mann [wikimedia.org] has been increasingly merging technology with his body for three decades now.
  • No matter how much web2.0, augmented reality, buzz, money, etc ... we're only human http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlQ6Ka4yg_8 [youtube.com]
  • Cool insight... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MoldySpore (1280634) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:53AM (#35174068)
    While many may say "this is just a stunt" or whatever, regardless if it is or not it was interesting none-the-less. There have been many instances of technology being implanted into people lately, especially in and [bbc.co.uk] around the head [reuters.com]. While perhaps not as invasive and technical as a chip implant that gives the blind the ability to see, I think the day of artificial technological implants of this type are just around the corner. This sort of trial and error with the implanting of hardware on the human body is necessary for us to get an idea of what the human body will accept and reject, and what procedures of implantation can help reduce the chances of rejection.
    • I believe that infinitely more insight on what the human body will accept and reject comes from clinical studies and research on implants then from art projects, especially those actually implant technology (i.e. try to connect technology to nerves). From a medicinal standpoint, this professor could as well have implanted a plastic globe.

    • While perhaps not as invasive and technical as a chip implant that gives the blind the ability to see, I think the day of artificial technological implants of this type are just around the corner.

      I doubt we have enough knowledge of human physiology to start doing ad hoc implants where not medically necessary. We still don't know why some people reject implants and others don't or even what causes rejection completely. This guy may be in for a lifetime of horrible medical consequences for what he did. Taking the camera out may only partially mitigate it. Even for common implants today like lap bands or pacemakers, the complications are numerous. To consider an implant simply to enhance your abilities

    • While perhaps not as invasive and technical as a chip implant that gives the blind the ability to see, I think the day of artificial technological implants of this type are just around the corner.

      I think we're a very long way from that type of technology. Yeah, we can build chips and sensors and what not. Doesn't matter if we can't effectively create a technology/brain interface. I've seen nothing to indicate we're even close to this type of a breakthrough. We simply no too little about how the brain actually works.

  • Groucho (Score:5, Funny)

    by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:56AM (#35174098)
    Man goes to a doctor and says, "Doctor, I hurts when I do this!"
    Doctor says, "Well, don't do that."
  • The one where Stimpy's brain falls out.

  • Idiot, he thought he could keep that sh*t this long inside his body without rejection.....funny man!

  • by varmittang (849469) on Friday February 11, 2011 @11:04AM (#35174226)
    Not everyone likes your artwork. Including your own body.
  • I may not have eyes in the back of my head BUT I HAVE A CAMERA! LOL. But the fact that this was rejected by the body does not bode well for some future tech implementations, im hoping that the material was just faulty. Cause I would hate to think that if we created a bionic leg or arm that it would be rejected by the body.
    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      My guess (and it's just that) is that he failed to keep the screws keeping the camera attached clean enough. Germs creep in and he has a nasty inflammation on his hands. Well, on the back of his head.
  • I'm a bit surprised that he ran into trouble, my understanding was that titanium/bone interfacing, while still a bit more brutal than would be ideal, was a more or less solved problem. All sorts of rods, plates, screws, and whatnot get used routinely to patch together assorted horrors of skeletal misfortune, and remain implanted for the life of the patient.

    Perhaps it was an issue with having the implant protruding through the skin, or carrying a load that probably got bumped and jostled from time to time
    • Implants are OK, for both bones and pace makers.

      But anything that protrudes through the skin is asking for trouble: it's tough to get a seal even with natural substances, let alone anything artificial. Note that in a healthy human, the skin is one continuous sheet, covering your insides and outsides, with no holes anywhere.

      The only animals I can think of that have stuff sticking through their skin are animals with antlers or horns. People are trying to figure out how to replicate that. But the point of a

      • You may be interested in this story [huffingtonpost.com]. There, veterinarians attached titanium pegs to the leg bones of a cat that had lost its feet; they were designed to mimic deer antlers, and protruded through the skin in such a way that the skin would grow into a groove in the metal and, it was hoped, form a tight seal. I haven't heard any updates on this story, so hopefully the project has been successful and the cat hasn't been getting infections.

        Looks like an active research area.

        • by t2t10 (1909766)

          You can get experimental prostheses like that for humans; it's called ITAP. It looks promising, but it's very specialized materials, and it's unclear how it works long term. Those materials don't seem to have been used with the camera.

    • It's actually not very surprising at all. If you look at, say, tooth implants, they require a dental hygiene taken to OCD extremes and have a MTBF of just a few years. Then an infection happens. Anything that goes through the skin can do just that.

  • I strongly believe this is going to be a future social revolution along the same lines of the Internet and Social Media.

    The point at which we have all got our mobile phone/camera embedded in our body with the ability to record at at thought will be a revolution in personal security. It will no longer be possible to commit crime against the person without serious risk of being identified.

    This may come as a wearable device or it may come as an implanted device. Hell, as we're blue sky thinking it may simply

    • Providing it's also affordable for everyone to continually stream the data to a server elsewhere over the future version of the cellphone network. Otherwise any criminal only need learn exactly where he needs to smash the sock-full-of-rocks in order to destroy the implant.
  • I'm curious if the surgeon that assisted with this "art project" is still licensed to practice medicine. I'm no MD, but if I were on an ethics board reviewing his malpractice insurance application or continued employment at my hospital, it would be a tough sell to justify to me attaching an experimental camera to a normally-sighted man's skull for the entertainment value.

    • It may be a stupid idea, but presumably the patient gave his informed consent. Much cosmetic surgery isn't medically necessary either.

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