Here’s a list of 9 ways you can modify your body to be even more useful, from bionic implants to portable power generators.
1. RFID Chips – A nice and easy way to start out with body hacking is to implant an RFID chip into you. An RFID chip is just a passive antenna that’s pre-configured to transmit a specific code when it’s brought near an RFID reader. Generally, RFID is used as a key of sorts; so for example, you can set up your computer or your phone to unlock only when you pick them up. Or install an RFID-enabled deadbolt on your front door and an RFID reader in your car and you won’t need to carry your keys around anymore. It’s completely safe — you can even do it yourself.
2. Medical Sensors – Most people go to the doctor when there’s something wrong with them, at which point it’s too late to take much in the way of preventative measures. Sensor systems implanted inside our bodies would be able to detect even the faintest little whiff of something like cancer, alerting us when we’ve still got plenty of time for treatment. A couple years ago, a professor from MIT developed a 0.2-inch-long implant embedded with nanoparticles that respond to cancer cells, but much more is possible. In the near future, we may all get implants with entire arrays of nano-sized virus and disease detectors that can send instant alerts to our cell phones. And our doctor’s cell phone.
3. Energy Harvesters – As anyone who’s seen The Matrix knows, humans have the potential to generate a lot of electricity. The tricky part is finding a good way to harvest it, but one solution is to use piezoelectric rubber films that can be implanted beneath your skin. This “piezo-rubber” is able to convert 80% of mechanical energy (bending or pressure) into electricity, and coupled with an induction coil, you could charge your phone by just pressing it against a layer of energy harvesters right under your skin.
4. LED Arrays – Want something that can outshine every single tattoo ever inked? How about implanting a programmable LED array underneath your skin. Think of it: you could play movies on your forehead, use your palm as a flashlight, or even turn your entire body into one giant music visualize and dance around in pulsing naked glory. And if you just pair your LEDs up with some of those energy harvesters from the previous slide, and won’t even have to worry about recharging yourself.
5. Augmented Reality Contacts – Consider how much time, effort, and money has gone all over the world into developing bigger and fancier and 3D-ier TV screens, all for the benefit of our tiny little eyes. Putting screens into our eyeballs themselves seems inevitable, whether it’s for augmenting our existing realities or constructing entirely new ones. The contact lens in the above picture is just a prototype, but the next generation will contain a wireless antenna plus an array of semi-transparent LEDs that are entirely invisible when turned off. When turned on, they form perfectly in-focus images. Power is wireless too. The only thing to be careful of is that anything that the lenses show you appears inside your eyelids, so like it or not, you’re going to see it.
6. Brain Remote – Yes, soon it will be possible to change channels on your TV and even browse the web while entirely motionless. Intel has been working on brain implants designed to read your brainwaves directly and translate your thoughts into commands that can then be sent wirelessly to a variety of electronic devices, from TVs to computers to cell phones.
7. Bionic Limbs – We’re just starting to get to the point where bionic limbs with nerve integration and brain control work well enough for them to be a viable option for people who need a replacement. In fact, some people who have lost the ability to use a hand are choosing amputation in order to get a new bionic version, which incidentally has a greater range of motion than a human hand, being able to spin around at the wrist. It’s no stretch to imagine that at some point in the future, you might have the option of replacing your hand with a bionic one that’s identical in every sensation, except that it’s ten times stronger, much more maneuverable, and detachable to boot.
8. Bionic Eyes – Our eyes do a decent enough job of letting us get around I guess, but in the absolute sense our biological hardware is a little primitive. We can see three different colors in a fairly narrow spectral range, and we need a large amount of light to do it. Compare that to the eyes of the tiny mantis shrimp, which can see twelve different colors from infrared to ultraviolet while also detecting both linear and circular polarization and performing redundant trinocular depth analysis. Luckily, we can just replace our eyes with cameras, which we can tune to see whatever different wavelengths we want. This pic shows a prototype bionic eye from the Boston Retinal Implant Project.
9. Orgasm Button – A spinal implant designed to alleviate chronic pain has a happy side-effect for some women: it gives them orgasms. The doctor that invented it has patented the design and is trying to convince Medtronic to develop a dedicated remote-control orgasm machine: you’d just push a button or activate an app on your phone and bam, orgasm. The device has also worked for men, and FDA approval is in the works. Expect to pay about $12,000 for one of these on-demand orgasm implants, which are called (seriously) Orgasmatrons.