1. Virtual vision
An age of convenience continues to advance. Every nook and cranny of optimization is sought after. That is why engineers and programmers decided to condense a computer onto a pair of glasses. Apparently consumers thought the 1,500 lenses were worth it, because they originally sold out on day one.
Google Glass, a miniature computational creation, allowed for access to internet browsers, direction information, calendars, camera functionality—basically the whole nine yards at the blink of an eye. Cyborg super nerds rejoiced at the idea of glasses’ easy to use interface, but it was met with a tremendous problem.
Commercial failure doesn’t always mean the product was not effective—case and point: Google Glass. Many corporate joints have come together in unison to ban the surveillance shades citing reasons of liability and privacy. In fact, one consumer was actually arrested for wearing them in public. Fears of converting the average Joe and Jane into super spies had quite the impact on the market.
Wearing a computational device is a critical component to cyborgdom, however, the project didn’t jive well with the Fair Trade Commission (FTC), and they condemned it outright. Cyborg stigma is a real concern for those looking to make strides in the tech world. Although, you can forget about calling someone four-eyes, the capability of the google glasses means the person has millions of them.
Super sight contact lenses, what will they think of next? Apparently scientists share the cyborg love of nerds alike, because they have developed a device to examine the surface of the moon. Originally designed aid with an age-related impairment of the eye called macular degeneration, developers realized they could increase the zoom ability to superhuman levels.
The lens helps magnify vision by a factor of three, meaning astronomers and photographers could become best friends very soon. Not only is the color complimentary to the eye’s natural hue, it allows for a cyber aesthetic which will be the envy of all cyborg seekers. We’ll be able to spot an alien invasion with the naked eye that much sooner.
4. A heart of gold…. silver and plastic
Iron Man called, he wants his heart back. The artificial heart is iconic and has been in development for some time, but also follows the stream of technological innovation quicker than anything else due to the persistence of heart disease. Artificial hearts function just like regular hearts: pumping blood and providing a current for nutrient facilitation.
Currently, artificial hearts are temporary—an intermediary step between heart transplants—however, a permanent fix is being developed which would make the user a true iron-bound borg. Hopefully, the phrase “heart of steel” will being endearing this time around.
Instead of photo-shopping your pics, how about you have all the features you ever wanted right off the bat? Well, maybe for your kids, not you. CRISPR is a six letter complex acronym for gene editing. Gene editing and engineering falls into the Jurassic Park category in that reviving dinosaurs and tampering with ancient life sounds a little less crazy now.
CRISPR editing can also be facilitate cyborg creation. Be 7 feet tall, run faster than Usain Bolt, or maybe just be designed to have great teeth, the possibilities are endless. Alright, so test tube tinkering doesn’t fit the mold of awesome armor and cybernetic enhancements, but, it could allow for innovations in such an area.
Perhaps gene editing and cyborg enhancements are the calm before the storm of innovation. Under CRISPR, genes for height, weight, intelligence and everything under sun can be manipulated. Adaptations to metals, odd weight distributions or anything else advantageous to future generations are in consideration.
In all honesty, the only thing stopping humans from gene editing is other humans. The ethical mandates are hesitant about such radical genetic manipulation, but every other cyborg-craver is nodding yes. If scientists could ensure more people can be born less likely to develop certain illnesses and diseases, humanity would be all the more thankful for this technology.
7. Efficient engineering appendages
The motherload, or motherboard, of cyborg technology is cybernetic appendages; arms, legs and every articulated finger being aptly being replaced if needed. It would make the entire globe an easier place to life, reducing the need for care and increasing the mobility of those challenged in movement.
We aren’t knocking on the door of blaster cannon arms and rocket boot legs, but restoring balance and abundance to amputee’s lives is indisputably valuable. Thankfully, the arm is very easy to pilot from the owner’s perspective. But, scientists are working to make these prosthetics even more remarkable in performance.
One big hindrance to cyborg innovation is stigma. Currently, there is no need for super speed or strength, but the technology is sitting right in front of us. Prosthetic legs can outperform human legs if pushed to the limit. Jumping from scaffolding to buildings like Spider-Man is in the realm of possibility. But the world isn’t quite ready for cybernetic citizens bounding all over the place.
Of course, the financial cost of superhero performance packages would make it much more exclusive as well. Like all new tech, however, once the manufacturing and distribution processes are sorted out, the natural progression of technological evolution will blossom. Just like any movement, it’ll take a little momentum—literally and figuratively—to get off the ground.
When life gives you lemons, and you are Neil Harbisson, you make a cyborg attachment in your brain. Unfortunately, for decades of his life he was unable to distinguish many fruits or items because of complete color blindness. He was however unwilling to give up despite doctors’ decrees. So what was this simple fix?
Not going for the eyes, but using what you already have. The probe sticking out of his head allows him to hear color. That’s right, Neil hears either red, blue yellow and the variations in between. Since the color spectrum falls on different waves based on intensity, each color can be attributed to a sound.
Today, there is incredible fear regarding the prospects of robots and jobs. Will they outperform and supersede us? Will there be any other jobs for humans? Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Human Intelligence (HI) are in constant battle. If one exceeds the other, it could be disastrous for how the global marketplace and commerce function.
With the help of human intelligence augmentation, we can ensure people are above the bread-winning curve. Robots are here as your colleagues, not future conquerors. Melding the mind is the next step humans will take to achieve professional power. So how exactly are we making strides to manifest this untapped brain power?
Elon Musk, the real life Tony Stark/Iron Man, is attempting to make the brain boost technology a reality. Neuralink, a start-up founded in 2016, has a mission to mesh the mind with a computer. Using a motherboard, a complex system of connections and a lot of hope, the dream of “installing” new neural networks can become a reality.
Currently, researchers are conducting tests on rats, but the public release statements mention that human participant testing will start “by 2020.” Musk believes this AI vs. HI war is among the most titanic obstacles facing humans. However, with a little innovation and a lot of financial backing, upgrading our brain may soon be as easy as updating your phone’s software.
Every cyborg or bodyhacker has a stepping stone before they upgrade to the big guns. For most, that step is finger magnets. Recipients of the procedure can move magnets, paper clips and anything with enough magnetic pull. We are just beginning to scratch the surface of potential with this elongated efficient quicker picker-upper.
Awesome bonus: you can feel large electric fields in common appliances or in the proximity of power plants. Warning to those who wish to proceed further: infection, skin tissue death and heavy metal poisoning are all potential side effects if you don’t capitalize on caution. Just don’t say “go-go-gadget magnetic fingers” without heeding the side effects.
As a robot, it is rather challenging to hide the circuitry and external electrical necessities. Cyborgs need a middle ground; an adaptation that allows for discreet covering—that is where skin grafts come in. Although the main purpose will still be for burn victims, the procedure could be transferred to humans wishing for cover from controversy.
Nutrients, essential components to life and oxygen all circulate the lab-created cuticles. Again, public opinion towards cyborgs is overwhelmingly negative, but just like any hot-button societal issue, it could easily be seen as an essential to health and recovery in the future. Plus, people might just be jealous of your electronic epidermis.
Finally, we are reaching the pinnacle of human achievement: making healthy foods somewhat bearable through taste bud manipulation. Unsuspectingly, the taste is somewhat electrifying due to the tongue-zapping required. Cyborg straws are closer than cyborg tongues at the moment. All in all, it would be a revolution in dieting, obesity, and definitely quality of life.
Each straw would be able to select whatever you wish to taste using zapping technology. It is a disappointment we aren’t outfitting tech-tongues, but if there is any consolation, at least broccoli and vegetables will no longer be unbearable. If you have an aversion to certain healthy foods, converting their taste to the “Lucky Charms” setting may be helpful.
When foolproofing a future that includes cyborg enhancements, maintaining control over technology on (or in) your body is a must. Brain machine interfaces (BMI’s) are the first step towards total control. It offers direct communication between the person and external electrical elements, such as an arm, leg or anything capable of multi-modal movement.
The next future use for the technology may even be in your Nintendo Switch or home gaming console. But wait, the best part? Brain machine interfaces are the same technology and inspiration detailed in the action film Pacific Rim where titanic iron behemoths can be controlled with ease, externally. The future definitely looks bright if it includes the excitement of life sized Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots.
We have come a long way from using monkeys for our brain boosting bidding. BMI’s can also “reset” neurons that were previously inert because of its ability to aide motor function deficits. Put the device (and a human participant) on the treadmill and watch as it collects millions of datasets to construct an entire digital universe.
There are limitless possibilities for applications here. This machine could be one of the great video game architects if the system is harnessed properly. Perhaps instead of facilitating BMI’s for just disabilities, we should flip the technology for the greater good of all civilians by improving cognitive function and heightened mental performance. Now we are really brainstorming.
It is all in the flick of a wrist. Vibrotactile gloves are like spare tires, when one of the five human senses is unable to proper, the glove will take the place of sight or hearing. When Firefighters are trapped in a burning building have smoke obscuring their path, the simple fix is allow the glove to see for them.
Small cameras on the glove forge through the bellows of smoke and allow for crystal clear vision. Furthermore, it has vibration technology to alert the user which direction to go. Similar to Neil’s color-sensing brain implant, this environmental feedback would enhance certain senses when others are disabled. This also sounds like the ultimate Xbox or Playstation video game controller.
This device appears to be Bluetooth technology, but it is actually a cochlear implant, which can turn the severely deaf into crystal clear listeners. When hearing aids do nothing, the complex cochlear device offers hearing restoration, plus it offers an interesting cybernetic aesthetic that brings humans one step closer to the Inspector Gadget life.
Like other devices we’ve outlined, the audio enhancement bypasses damaged portions of the ear and stimulates the auditory nerve directly. The signal travels from the nerve to the brain, which detects the signals as sound. Like many items initially starting off as cyborg civilian products, the military is thinking about adapting cochlear technology for covert operations.
You ever get the feeling you are doing something wrong? Haptic technology, the shortened word for muscle-propelled force feedback, could soon be right by your side. Physical feedback has been around for quite some time as any airline pilot who has experienced the “stick-shaker” will tell you. But modern cars are starting to implement this feedback into their driver controls, as well.
Wii, Xbox and Sony Playstation consoles also share the haptic sensation, which is a course corrector. Often, mobile games use the tilt and force of a person’s muscles to influence the game mechanics. Even more amazing is that this technology could be adapted to teach people sports in real life. Talk about hired muscle; you could conquer the perfect golf stroke with a little electric persuasion.
Cyborg technology is a two-way street: either wear it loud and proud, or be down and discreet. Biohackers often go with the first option, allowing for a giant flashing coin to stick out of their hand. While the utility may look lame, it provides information about temperature spikes, which could come in handy for your health.
It is a 15-minute cyborg surgery—a quick little in-n-out procedure to place an LED light inside your hand. Sound a little sketchy? It gets even more interesting: the people performing the procedure aren’t physicians. Start-up staffers and tattoo artists commonly carry out the practice for clients who want a bright little robo-upgrade.
Tired of tangled headphones? Annoyed by the constant need for something so small? Planting them directly into your ear is much simpler! Adventurous entrepreneur Richard Lee decided to do exactly that when he put small magnets into the crevices of his ear. These magnets subsequently function as speakers and cannot be detected unless scanned for metals.
Interestingly, he says there is room for GPS, and eavesdropping on conversations. It sounds lovely, but in order to maintain the integrity of the magnets, he must constantly keep a coil around his neck. No matter the implant, there is no escaping some hassle involved with headphones: never again would you need to untangle your buds.
Miracles are now a reality in the modern day. Even without artificial cells we can potentially restore spinal function to paralyzed patients. E-dura, a neuroprosthetic which would coordinate communication between the spinal cord and the brain, has been shown to facilitate movement in previously paralyzed rats.
A cocktail of chemical and electrical sensations drive down the brain into the spinal cord signaling movement. The most awesome piece of news hailing from the cyborg revolution? The possibility that those with paralysis may claim their mobility sooner rather than later. Harnessing the nuanced electrical impulses in our neurons will take more research, but the tech is getting more effective with each test.
The cyborg craze wouldn’t be complete without matching tattoos. Fortunately or unfortunately, their visibility only exists under blacklight. Scientists designed these transparent tattoos for one specific purpose: monitoring glucose. Discreet, neat and melding to your body just like miraculous mechanization.
Carbon nanotubes would be imbedded into the skin revealing pertinent information to diabetics. Pricking your fingers everyday as a diabetic is annoying and this tattoo could remove the discomfort in place of a simple barcode-esque scan. Also, if you end up in a nightclub with blacklight adornments, your glowing arm serves as a neat party trick.
It is nearly a guarantee that the human species will all be “chipped” sometime in the future; the chipping has already started. RDIF or Radio Frequency Identification chips are minuscule devices which allow for transfer of info and, of course, the easy identification of people. The same technology in your credit cards and computers is tracing its way to humans, but with much resistance.
Long have we feared implanted data and tracking devices for some understandable reasons. Privacy is the primary concern. Sweden, however, has found numerous opportune uses: reducing the amount of keys, credit cards and miscellaneous items to carry. RDIF chips can even act as credit cards. Image paying with a simple tip of a finger, talk about having the magic touch.
Several things in the universe naturally point north: The North Star, a compass, and apparently, people’s chests who are equipped with the “North Sense.” It is certainly a cheap avenue into cyborgdom at less than $500 for the appendage. Cyborg companies continually tout this as the great beginning of bio-enhancement but what does it do?
Once it is equipped, that is the only purpose… pointing North. Okay, so the I, Robot Will Smith super strength isn’t there, but at least it will prevent someone from getting lost in the woods. Elaborations to this device are in the works, with more elaborate GPS tracking abilities. Just don’t let Tony Stark see you copying his style.
The red looming eyes of a robot revolution ala The Terminator are the first thing that comes to mind when many think about cyborgs, followed by fear. Fret not, because robotic eyes are currently the best innovation for the vision-impaired. Robot eyes can either be partial or complete replacement of forlorn viewing.
Different from the optical zoom contact lenses as detailed earlier, red lighting technology can calibrate the eye to ensure it syncs perfectly with it’s right or left compliment. Once complete, a camera similar to the ones used in drones improves the sense of sight. The greatest minds in medicine sure know how to lead the way for cyborg culture.
In times of climate difficulties, more people want to get in tune with the Earth. Performance artist Moon Ribas took that to a whole new level. Right below her elbow contains a specialty magnet which is a real-time seismic signaler, able to detect earthquakes far and wide. The larger the earthquake, the more intense the feedback.
She likens the earthquake sensation to having her iPhone vibrate. I wonder if the same technolgogy can be used on the alarm clock setting? Anyways, she is not done. Moon is about to have her feet synced up with the same procedure, giving a whole new meaning to “quaking in one’s boots.”
The military recently unveiled a new project with cooperation from DARPA—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—the sole mission of which is to turn the U.S. Military might into cyborgs. Super soldiers that are powered by robotic upgrades seems like quite the force, and when even the military sees it as a worthwhile pursuit, we can expect some wild inventions.
Neural engineering would allow precision and accuracy the likes of which has never been seen. A micro-chip implant would be all that is necessary to begin. Billions of neurons would be firing together with a mech suit providing them superior battle prowess, allowing soldiers to arm and activate certain defenses on their body with just a thought. Let’s hope this kind of firepower need not be implemented.
Wearing your kidneys in the form of a portable iPod looking device—now that’s #CyborgLife. The Wearable Artificial Kidney (WAK) takes on the appearance of a multi-tool kit, yet it contains dialysis filtration, meaning wastes and fluids can be decontaminated and disposed with ease. In a sense, this equipment acts as external robotic organs helping out the natural parts of the body.
Further innovations have allowed for hormone releasing, so it can communicate with the body just like a normal kidney. Carrying tanks filled with chemicals around your waist may seem cumbersome, but these innovations are a welcome improvement to the old school way of treating chronic health conditions. Also, it’ll look like you’re rocking the world’s most extreme mp3 player.
Scheduling coffee with a colleague by tapping the air, or interface interviews right at your fingertips with a large cyber command center where you can influence it by swiping objects around: motion-controlled computing is coming. Such technology resembles Iron-Man’s Jarvis system or Star Wars’ holograms.
Everyone wishes they could be at the helm, taking control of the story. Now, in rooms with low lighting, scientists have made the dream doable by any techie or non-techie alike. This gadgetry is not in a galaxy far, far away. It is right around the corner if you can’t already find it on the tech market.
Humanity has pushed its technological advancements so much that it constantly blurs the line of ethical bio-engineering and unstoppable cyborg domination. We remain cautiously optimistic of these advancements in hopes they improve the lives of everyone on Earth.