Military Insertables – Lessons from Civilian Experiences

Title: Military Insertables – Lessons from Civilian Experiences

Abstract: Digital components, once large enough to fill a room, are now small enough to be inserted into the human body.  We have moved from luggables, digital devices humans must physically carry with them with effort, to wearables that can effortlessly be worn on a person. The next logical step is insertables; digital devices which go in, through or under the skin. We use the term insertables to specifically categorize devices that are voluntarily chosen to be inserted and are relatively easy, and minimally, invasive to insert or remove. Conversely, implantable is often used in the medical context to refer to an object grafted inside a person’s body during surgery by a trained medical professional. Thus, there are important ethical distinctions between insertable and implantable technologies. Insertables have a strong sense of personal agency and choice, while implants are often done to someone out of necessity.
Civilian hobbyists are voluntarily inserting devices into their bodies for non-medical, mostly convenience driven, purposes. Our research looks at how people are using insertable devices, and why, particularly with a human computer interaction (HCI) and user experience foci. In this talk we will explore how the civilian use of insertables could be re-appropriated for law enforcement or military contexts and briefly touch on whether these uses would fall under the category of insertables or implantables.

Biography: Kayla Heffernan is a UX designer at SEEK Limited  and also undertaking a PhD in Interaction Design at the University of Melbourne looking at digital insertables. Insertables is a term Kayla coined used to refer to voluntary devices that go in, through or underneath the skin. 

Affiliation: The University of Melbourne's Interaction Design Lab studies the design and use of digital technologies by people to understand the impact of ICT on human life.

Twitter: @kaylajheffernan