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These 7 real-life cyborgs show the future of high-tech body modifications

Submitted by Tech Insider on August 15, 2016 - 3:17pm

nigel ackland

Piercings and tattoos are so last century.

The people who are paving the way to the future embrace a completely different kind of body modification. They put sensors under their skin, antennae in their scalps, and can control artificial limbs with their mind.

There's a name for these kind of radical human-robot hybrids: cyborgs.

Here are seven cyborgs that give us some clues about where humanity could be headed.

Neil Harbisson

Harbisson, a British-born artist and musician who is colorblind, had an antenna surgically implanted in the base of his skull in 2004. In front of his forehead, a sensor on the tip of the antenna picks up incoming light and turns it into audio tones based on the frequency. 

As a result, Harbisson says he can hear color. And thanks to Bluetooth, he can connect the antenna to his phone to "hear" sunrises halfway around the world — or farther.

"With my mobile phone I can connect to NASA's International Space Station and perceive the colors live from space," he told Tech Insider last year.

Moon Ribas

A Spanish artist and good friend of Harbisson's, Ribas had a tiny magnetic sensor implanted near her left elbow in 2013. The sensor connects to an online seismograph that picks up earthquakes around the world. When they happen, Ribas' arm vibrates too.

Stronger earthquakes produce stronger vibrations, which she often turns into avant-garde performance art, dancing and swaying at an intensity that matches the strength of the tremor. She calls the added ability her "seismic sense."

"Now I feel like I have two heartbeats," she told Quartz recently. "It's like my own, and an 'Earthbeat.'"

Amal Graafstra

As the CEO of Dangerous Minds, a company that sells kits to help people become cyborgs at home, Graafstra practices what he preaches. He has two radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips embedded in his hands, which he uses to lock and unlock the doors on his house and log into his computer just by scanning his hand.

"We have been picking up things like rocks and sticks forever and used them as tools," Graafstra told Tech Insider last July. "That is nothing new and this is just a natural progression of that. We are just now putting our tools inside of our bodies."

Eventually he hopes to connect the chips to his bank account so he can make transactions without needing his phone or checkbook.

See the rest of the story at Tech Insider

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