There’s wearable tech now. There has been for a while. Clothing that contains sensors to take the body’s temperature, the heartrate, the blood pressure. There are items you can attach to yourself or your own clothing for other things, like music or spoken word or radio. For detecting radiation. Google’s now cancelled Glass. Electronic devices for nearly every use we can device.
Most of them have common everyday names: iPod, Discman, portable radio, heart monitor, pedometer [not for measuring pedophiles] and so on. Even mobile phones can be connected to ‘smart’ watches and headsets so you barely have to even touch the phone. On the lowtech side of things we’ve had spectacles and prosthetic limbs for decades.
Then there is the tech that is placed inside you. Pacemakers for people with heart problems. Dialysis equipment for filtering blood simply. Artificial organs, bionic senses, the list goes on. On the lowtech side again you still have things like metal plates and splints and joint replacements, things that are there for good. Even false teeth, once wood, are now ceramic and sometimes permanently attached.
What you don’t usually hear about are the less popular kinds of tech. The ones people have to do outside hospitals and anaesthesia and sterile surgeries for various reasons. Most of them legal.
There are a few people walking these paths with those advantages, but they are few and far between. Stellarc, the Australian based physical performance artist, is one of them: having robot arms linked to his nerves, growing ears with the intent of making them fully functioning. The rest have to make do. Opening you up to insert an object that could theoretically kill you isn’t a job just anyone will do, let alone even can do.
And it’s something I’ve been personally intrigued by for a long time.
Anywa, here’s the article, “Cyborg America: inside the strange new world of basement body hackers,” from The Verge. Go read it. And wonder with me on just how useful it would be to have a magnet inside your finger.