The human body is malleable, just ask any athlete or astronaut. But the pace at which we can naturally reshape our physiology is slow compared to the quick fix solutions that technology can offer.
Body hacking answers many questions, such as: "Why bother to train your memory for years when you can wear a search engine on your wrist?".
As technological advancements increase, our species can increasingly rely on much more invasive and permanent devices.
This is what happens when our gadgets become part of us and make us review the boundaries of our humanity.
Change the genes
CRISPR is a relatively easy-to-use gene editing technique, and could provide an escape from the ailments that have always plagued us. It can edit DNA by "cutting" defective segments and inserting healthier segments in their place.
The care of people with genetic diseases is probably in the near future, but the ethics of the work changes before birth, "drawing" is more murky. This is a type of body hacking that goes far beyond the debate on the ethics of eugenics. Any unwanted side effects of a DNA modification made to an embryo, or even earlier to the sperm, could develop through future generations.
Listen to the colors
Until 2004, the artist Neil Harbisson lived the world in shades of gray. So he and a friend created Eyeborg, a light sensing sensor that it is now surgically fixed to his skull. This translates the electromagnetic light waves around him into sound frequencies, turning color into musical notes.
After using the device for eight years, the researchers found it may have helped Harbisson make new connections between the auditory and visual areas of his brain.
Oncologists have already managed to put some cancers into remission with CAR-T therapy. It works by harvesting a patient's T cells (a type of white blood cell), adding a receptor outward that targets their cancer, and feeding them back into the body. Since the redesigned cells replicate on their own, they could theoretically provide long-term protection against that type of cancer, preventing future recurrences. A kind of antibody.
Opening the doors with "thought"
Pets have had implantable microchips for decades, but recently humans have also experimented with body hacking through the insertion of radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. in their bodies.
These clutches can be programmed to open the car door or unlock the phone. Similar tags may someday even monitor your vital signs - the only (however legitimate) brake stems from the privacy concerns of biological data storage.
Acquiring new senses
Levitating staples (with a trick) always gets a few laughs at a party, but when body hackers do incorporate magnets under the fingers they want to get a real extrasensory perception.
Whenever users cross a magnetic or electric field such as those emitted by speakers and microwaves, they feel a small tug inside their "super fingers". More sophisticated future sensors could use that sensation to encode information about all kinds of otherwise invisible forces.
Updating the limbs
The ideal prosthesis should give you the feeling that it is actually part of your body.
osseointegration makes this possible. A deep direct connection between the bone and the artificial appendix allows for greater mobility, stability and comfort, as it allows the devices to move and adapt to the body as the bone grows. Most traditional prostheses, which simply clip onto the body, become more and more unstable.