What's the Latest Development?
A small collection of rogue engineers are pioneering a field known as biohacking in which electrical devices are implanted in the human body, augmenting our natural senses to detect more of the world around us. One Pennsylvania-based duo, Tim Cannon and Shawn Sarver, readily experiment on themselves and have already implanted a small magnetic device beneath the skin of their fingertips, allowing them to sense magnetic fields emitted by power lines, microwaves and other machinery. The pair are currently working on a device that would take constant measurements of a person's heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure.
What's the Big Idea?
Lending some institutional support to independent biohackers is professor Kevin Warwick of the University of Reading, UK, who experimented early with implants. In 2002, Warwick had cybernetic sensors implanted into the nerves in his arm, allowing him to manipulate a robotic arm by simply moving his fingers. Warwick notes the shift in consciousness concerning the fusion of man and machine: "A decade ago, if you talked about human enhancement, you upset quite a lot of people. ... [Today] normal folks really see the value of ubiquitous technology. In fact the social element has almost created the reverse. Now, you must be connected all the time."
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