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Masters Of Magnetism: A Bio-Hacker’s Story

Masters Of Magnetism: A Bio-Hacker’s Story

Magnetic superpowers are now possible by implanting a tiny magnet in your body.

I am the shittiest superhuman ever. I’m not the last son of a dying planet. I can’t fire laser beams out of my eyes and I don’t even look good in spandex, but I have nevertheless taken my first step towards joining the ranks of the Avengers. What sets me apart from ordinary mortals, you ask? I can sense magnetic fields through a tiny magnet implanted into my finger.

Bio-hackers and transhumanism

Unsatisfied by the usual obsessing over one’s beautiful body in the gym, my transformative impulse and dissatisfaction with the flesh drove me into the arms of amateur surgery. Biohacking is the latest incarnation of the alchemical quest to transmute lead into gold. Traditionally on more of a metaphorical quest than an economic one, alchemists sought to purify their souls in an attempt to reach enlightenment.

Today’s alchemists have set aside their aqua regia and esoteric trappings. Instead, they’ve become science advocates who call themselves transhumanists. Transhumanism is an international movement with an ambitious goal: the complete transformation of the human condition by embracing emergent technologies. You know, besides everyone having smartphones. Biohackers, or “grinders” combine transhumanist ideals with the hacker mentality, treating the body as a Do-It-Yourself kit to enlightenment. Brave explorers of the human frontier, one and all.

The merits of a magnetic finger

The reality, of course, is that grinders are a bunch of technology fetishists who like sticking magnets and computer chips underneath their skins, pretending to be cyborgs. My kind of people. So I took the plunge last October and had a friendly piercer go wild on my finger, hoping for new bastions of experience to unlock themselves before me. Lo and behold, I can now pick up paperclips with but a hand gesture!

In addition to regular touch, my finger can now feel the size and shape of magnetic fields. The magnet vibrates when it encounters these fields, stimulating the nerves in my finger, which makes for a curious buzzing sensation. Magnetic fields are generated by all sorts of electronics, so now I’m able to get tickled by a microwave, find live wires, and feel my laptop’s hard drive buzzing while I type this article. In fact, I’ve become a human voltage tester.

Having obtained these awe-inspiring powers, I don’t feel any more or less human than before. My new magnetic sense has made me aware of vistas beyond the usual human experience, but nothing’s too impressive as of yet. So, for now, I will have to be content with performing super powerful party tricks. After all, with great power comes great responsibility.

Further reading

Wired – A Sixth Sense for a Wired World
The Verge – Cyborg America
Telegraph – The Real Cyborgs
Dangerousthings.com

Reference

Hameed, J.; Harrison, I.; Gasson, M.N.; Warwick, K. (2010). A novel human-machine interface using subdermal magnetic implants Cybernetic Intelligent Systems (CIS) DOI: 10.1109/UKRICIS.2010.5898141

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