You probably know a lot of people who are into tech, but I bet you don’t know nearly as many people whose tech is into them. American “biohacker” Tim Cannon is one such person: he has implanted a computer chip in his arm that conveys biometric information to his Android device, and in so doing has turned himself into a cyborg, a being made up of both organic and artificial parts.
Fascinatingly, he did it without the help of a doctor. Instead, he enlisted the help of a fellow “biohacking” enthusiast and members of the “body modification” community, who did the actual implanting without anaesthesia. Yikes.
Biohackers are people into body modifications that go way beyond simple piercings, and they are a subset of “body modification enthusiasts”, folks who take drastic measures to turn themselves into augmented humans with horns and sharpened teeth and other assorted enhancements that make them look quite unlike the average person on the street, which is, presumably, the whole point of the exercise. Biohackers prefer to implant electronics into their bodies, rather than horns.
With their experience affixing horns to people’s heads without being rejected by the body’s defenses , Tim’s helpers were fortunately smart enough to put the biometric chip in a protective casing that wouldn’t leak or cause his body to reject the implant. As for keeping the chip powered, Herr Cannon and associates chose a chip that could be recharged wirelessly, removing the rather embarrassing need to plug his arm into a wall socket every time the chip runs out of juice.
He is now the member of a very small club of Do It Yourselfers who haven’t relied on doctors to augment their bodies with gadgetry. I’m not entirely sure how awesome that is (and clearly my commitment to geekdom doesn’t extend to sticking electronics into my body voluntarily) but hey, at least he was brave enough to give turning himself into a cyborg a shot.
If you want to read more about Tim’s quest to cyborg himself into the history books, head over to motherboard.vice.com, where German blogger Max Hoppenstedt has created a huge, in-depth feature on the process. It’s not for the faint of heart, though, as it contains some fairly disturbing visuals.
Would you do something like this, just to interface your body with your smartphone or tablet? I wouldn’t, but that’s just me.