Biohacking is one of those subjects that really make my ears perk up. I have a couple of titles in my to-read pile on the topic (one of which is Biopunk: Solving Biotech's Biggest Problems in Kitchens and Garages), and I loved what fiction author James Rollins did with this bit of next-gen body modification with new Sigma agent Duncan Wren in The Eye of God. Wren has magnets implanted in his hands that allow him to feel electromagnetic fields. Pretty cool stuff, and, as it turns out, none the least bit far-fetched. In fact, you can find some pretty in-depth discussions at Biohack.me, which should be one of your first stopping points if you're exploring whether or not becoming a grinder is right for you.
Here's a couple of articles well-worth reading from The Verge:
- First up, from August 2013, Ben Popper's "Cyborg America: inside the strange new world of basement body hackers."
- Second, a more recent article by Adi Robertson, published July 31, 2014: "Cyborg conversion incomplete: my life with finger implants."
Continuing on the topic of magnetic implants, be sure to check out this first in a series of articles at H+: "Magnet Implants I: Armstrong as Icarus."
Also, check out this profile in Wired, circa 2010, on Lepht Anonym, who Popper credits, along with Kevin Warwick, is one of the founding figures of the biohacking movement. Then, there's the story of German biohacker Tim Cannon and his Circadia 1.0 implant, which provides his own biometric data to his Android device in real-time. As explained in Motherboard,
He's also working to automate communication between the chip and the internet of things.
"I think that our environment should listen more accurately and more intuitively to what's happening in our body," Cannon explained. "So if, for example, I've had a stressful day, the Circadia will communicate that to my house and will prepare a nice relaxing atmosphere for when I get home: dim the lights, let in a hot bath."
So Cannon is essentially trying to integrate the body into the growing quantified and connected universe. But unlike the life-loggers and step-counter-users, biohackers take the concept of self-improvement to the next level. Why would one literally hack his body?
According to Cannon, the developments are not about simply trying to insert gadgets into one's body for a performance enhancement. The end goal is to transcend the boundaries of biology, and try to hack evolution itself.
Here's Anonym presenting "Cybernetics for the Masses" during the 27th Chaos Communication Congress, part one of three:
and a TEDx speech by Warwick:
Well worth a read, too, is this three-part series on biohacking originally published on BBC Future in 2013 by Hanno Charisius, Richard Friebe, and Sascha Karberg:
- Becoming Biohackers: Learning the Game
- Becoming Biohackers: The Experiments Begin
- Becoming Biohackers: The Long Arm of the Law
The trio have published a German-language book on the topic as well, Biohacking: Gentechnik aus der Garage, with an English-language eBook reportedly forthcoming.