Biohacking and Cyborgs - A current look at the body hacker scene

biohacking cyborg 2016 2017

biohacking, the creation of cyborgs, the connection between man and technology - no matter how you want to express it, it is about interventions on or rather in the body. This is intended to sharpen and / or expand the senses or to use technologies to renew one's own skills. A RFID chip the size of a grain of rice implanted in the hand can help to open doors without the otherwise necessary key. But that's a rather simple example ...

RFID chip for animal identification. The same chipping tool as shown here can also be used to equip people with RFID chips. Image source: Wikipedia

RFID chip for animal identification. The same chipping tool as shown here can also be used to equip people with RFID chips. Image source: Wikipedia

About the growing biohacking and cyborg scene

Who would have thought it - especially in the USA, the group of people who want to use technical aids to transform themselves from normal human beings into an improved mix of man and machine is growing all the time. The aim is to expand the senses and change the appearance. However, the first cyborg officially recognized by a government does not come from the United States of America, but from Great Britain. The professional cyborg revolution emanates from Europe.

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Neil Harbisson (right) in conversation with Moon Ribas (left) on Google. You can find the Google Talk about cyborg technology as a video below in the article. Image source: YoutTube

Neil Harbisson (right) in conversation with Moon Ribas (left) on Google. You can find the Google Talk about cyborg technology as a video below in the article. Image source: YouTube

Neil Harbisson is the name of the man and he is born with achromatopsia; therefore sees the world only in shades of gray. In order to at least somehow perceive colors, he wears an antenna with a camera on his head, which converts the colors in his environment into tones. It is not for nothing that the cyborg and action artist often gives lectures under the title "I hear colors" - like here in TED Talk. With its antenna, Harbisson can also receive cell phone and satellite signals and so for example Recordings from the ISS transferred to his head.

Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas as a cyborg artist team

Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas here at "Talks at Google" describe the fact that the perception of colors via tones is not just a gimmick, but also a help for everyone who only sees gray tones:

In the video, the officially recognized cyborg describes together with the also "modified" moon ribaswhat developments and plans there are at the moment. In addition to a module that always vibrates when you align yourself to the north, there will probably soon also be teeth with Bluetooth functions. Of course also in blue. The best thing to do is to check out the Google Talk, it is really informative!

Reasons for biohacking and cyborg technologies

There can be many reasons why a person decides to have devices and sensors implanted in their own body. As described in the video above, missing sensory perceptions can be replaced or new senses can be created. The time sensor also mentioned in the video can help travelers against jetlag. The seismic sensor implanted by Moon Ribas, for example, can even save human lives in earthquake regions, if it has a regional effect. Also the transmission of stimuli from machines or so-called  golems or avatars, which are 3D-printed on other planets, is possible as an application area.

But maybe that's been thinking a little too far. But if you think like the two speakers in the video, you don't want to become one with the technology by bending or breaking. Stand in the foreground the expanded perception of nature and a stronger connection to it. And that is a starting point in the increasingly extensive discussion about biohacking and cyborgs often goes down. For some it may be a gimmick; however, other areas of application are quite useful.

RFID: basically old hat

But you don't necessarily have to go as far as described above to be allowed to call yourself a biohacker. RFID For example, is the magic word that comes in the form of chips. The detailed, English name "Radio Frequency Identification“Already indicates what it is about. Thanks to an implanted chip, a person can identify themselves clearly and no longer needs a key at their own front door, for example.

But readers at airports, large train stations and similar locations could also use this technology to identify passengers in the future. However, RFID in itself is not that new, just rediscovered. As early as 2004, some clubs in Spain were using the chipswhich are implanted in the hand to avoid queues and simplify payments.

Implant magnets, compasses and LEDs in the body

Anyone who feels the earth's magnetic field or would like to use it to always be able to align to the north can now do so through biohacking. I'm already very skeptical about ear piercings and tattoos - but I still don't allow myself to judge these changes in the body of the individual. After all, it takes a lot of courage. Incidentally, the implantable compass will soon be available from the company Cyborg nest brought on the market. This was co-founded by Neil Harbisson.

North Sense is the name of the module that vibrates to indicate that you are looking north. The CEO of Cyborg Nest, Liviu Babitz on the left in the picture, has already implanted a mounting system. Image source: CyborgNest.net

North Sense is the name of the module that vibrates to indicate that you are looking north. The CEO of Cyborg Nest, Liviu Babitz on the left in the picture, has already implanted a mounting system. Image source: CyborgNest.net

The technical changes to the human body that occur on the Body Hacking Con 2016 were shown in Austin, Texas. A microchip with five LEDs could be operated there on the back of the hand, for example. The effect: the LEDs shine through the skin. My suggestion for the application: if you want to turn by bike and hold out your hand, you can blink with the lights under your skin;)

Body hacking or body hacking and being a cyborg can bring the right opportunities for everyone - if you get involved; Image source: BodyHackingCon.com

Body hacking or body hacking and being a cyborg can bring the right opportunities for everyone - if you get involved; Image source: BodyHackingCon.com

By the way, you can find information about the next Body Hacking Con from January 27th to 29th, 2017 here .

Monitoring and optimization of vital signs

In addition to all rows of players and technical possibilities to facilitate or expand everyday life, "cyborg modules" can also be helpful in a medical sense. Companies like Apple have long been on the move Smartphones, Smartwatches, fitness bracelets as well as using similar gadgets and wearables for the healthcare industry. The next step, implanting this technology, is no longer a dream of the future. There will soon be more and more body hackers and cyborgs.

Conclusion on body hacking and cyborgs

It's not primarily about changing your appearance, but about expanding your senses and abilities. Whether it's colors you want to hear or seismological activity, there are many ways to expand your perception. But also the interaction with each other and with the technology around you can be improved through bio hacking / biohacking. The individual has to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages. In any case, it is an interesting field that will grow in size and influence in the future.

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