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Mum, Can I Be a Cyborg?

People are using technology as a tool to make their life easier, but what if we include that technology in our body? It might sound crazy, but more and more people integrate “devices” and implants to improve their body with technology. This is what we know as cyborgs. Instead of being a tool, could human beings adapt technology as a part their biology?

From replacing a finger with a USB drive to an implanted chip to detect earthquakes. There is a growing movement of people who modify their bodies to improve their senses, health or capacities. Their goal: re-engineer their bodies to improve. And it started a long time ago, in 2004, when Neil Harbisson became the first human in the world in modifying his body like that.

The man who hears colors

Concretely, he is a sonochromatic cyborg. In other words, he perceives colors throughout sound. Neil was born with achromatopsia (being entirely color blind) and because of that, he became obsessed with color’s existence and decided to dedicate his whole life to this element that he can’t see through his eyes. He has implanted a cyborg antenna in his skull that allows him to hear colors by transposing light frequencies to sounds. Thanks to improvements over time, today he can perceive more colors than a human eye. But what was his reason to become a cyborg? “We use color every day: labels, maps, flags, surnames… Even if you don’t see the color, you can’t ignore that color exists”.

YouTube: The Human Eyeborg: Neil Harbisson at TEDxGateway

The dancing woman

Moon Ribas is another cyborg example. This Spanish artist receives vibrations in her arm every time there is an earthquake. Her body is connected to online seismographs that allow her to sense the seismic activity of the planet. Invisible tremors which she then turns into dance movement with the purpose of re-discovering the world. Below you can see Moon Ribas’s performance “Waiting for earthquakes”.

YouTube: GARAGE Nº9 MAGAZINE: CYBORGISM – Waiting For Earthquakes

Those were examples of how bioengineering represents an advantage which people cannot deny. We are starting to combine organic material with technology. Will people use bioengineering to evolve into a machine? Will cyborgs shape the future of human evolution? Only technological advances, time and my mother’s permission, will tell.

YouTube: Searching for my sense | Moon Ribas | TEDxMünchen

Photo credit: Lukas-Karim Mehri, Danny Letain, Carlo Menon (Simon Fraser University)
Source: Neil Harbisson (TEDx Talks) / Moon Ribas (Garage Magazine / TEDx Talks)

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Manuela Ramos Cacciatore
Spanish journalist and tech-lover. At the university, I found out that social media and online communication were my passions. Also travelling, writing and running. Make me happy retweeting my content.