Body Hacking has gone mainstream. Sounds like some forgotten Alfred Hitchcock film, however this is anything but movie magic. Bio-hackers, people who look for ways to enhance their bodies through implantable technology, are leading the movement for body hacking. Gone are the days when people feared their lives being controlled by computers. We now rely on artificial intelligence to do everything from schedule our dentist’s appointments to choose a new insurance plan. So is it any surprise that we are resorting to implants to help us lock the front door?
It is one thing to desire a body that functions flawlessly; it is another thing to be willing to augment the body with implants like an NFC chip. There are an increasing number of folks who are purchasing kits to implant NFC chips in the thin flap of skin between the thumb and the pointer finger on their hands. The NFC (near field communication) chip uses a magnetic field to enable communication between any two devices once they are within centimetres of each other.
Where do the Cool Kids Hang Out?
Amal Graafstra sells implantable chip kits and other bio-hacking goodies on his site called Dangerous Things. The kits, costing from US $40 to US $100, even come with all the supplies required perform an implant. One journalist who underwent the implantation procedure felt that it was like choosing a semi-permanent wearable and not much different from getting a tattoo or a wearing a fitness tracker all day long. The biggest concern for those opposing implants is the invasion of privacy and tracking without the user’s consent or knowledge. Bio-hackers laugh off concerns of being tracked via satellite as the chips being used only work over short distances.
Wave Your Problems Good-bye – Body Hacking Style
What are the uses of an implanted chip? Once programmed, the user can lock and unlock their phone using their hand and the NFC Secure Unlock app (Google Play Store). Some bodyhackers use the chips to unlock their computers while others choose to open doors to their homes or offices. Others have used the chip to store bitcoin data. All this functionality with a wave of their hand. Bio-hackers are counting on implantable devices being linked to bank accounts in the near future for maximum utility.
Cyborgs in the Making or A Science Fair for Adults?
The other popular piece of bio-hardware is magnetic finger implants. With the addition of the magnets bio-hackers can pull of some pretty impressive parlour tricks, including pulling paper clips across a flat surface. Since the magnets are low-power, there is little chance of wiping out your hard drive or tripping a metal detector at the airport. Northstar V1 implants do not pretend to be useful. These self-illuminating LED light implants are worn for the sake of art and the delight of pushing the boundaries of human existence.
What draws bio-hackers in towards the implants is the accessibility to a new way of living. Through these implants, which are low-cost and relatively painless to “install”, anyone can experience the Future now.