Biohacking in New York, Cybernetics and first Cyborg Hate Crime: theverge.com

by MatthewBaker1 min read8th Aug 201247 comments

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http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/8/3177438/cyborg-america-biohackers-grinders-body-hackers

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Judging by previous instances, you ought to put in more than just a link and also put [LINK] in the title, or else you are liable to get a bunch of downvotes.

[edit] OK, watched the first video, with people getting little rare-earth magnets put in their fingers so they can feel magnetic fields... Why not just get a magnetic ring? That way you can feel magnetic fields and don't risk medical complications and you don't have to stop for several minutes and explain every time you fly or go through one of those scanners I hear are relatively common in the US. [/edit]

[-][anonymous]8y 5

That way you can feel magnetic fields and don't risk medical complications and you don't have to stop for several minutes and explain every time you fly or go through one of those scanners I hear are relatively common in the US.

Not to mention your finger would fry if you'd ever find yourself in an MRI, though the implant might just as well burst out from your finger before you even lay down.

This was my main concern when thinking of getting one :(

I thought that sensitivity might be the answer. Not that hearing fairly sensitive perception of magnetic fields is possible makes me want the ability enough to stick magnets in my fingers. Yet.

I've heard about other superhuman sensory devices, like the compass-sense belt, though, and the more I hear about this stuff, the cooler it sounds. Perhaps sometime the rising interest and falling cost/inconvenience curves will cross for me. :)

Security things don't detect them.

I can see X-ray or terahertz scanners missing a tiny lump of metal, but aren't there a fair number of magnetic scanners in use looking for larger lumps of metal, which I'd think the magnet would interact fairly strongly with?

I don't know about that, but I've been through multiple security checkpoints since getting them and they've never been noticed.

[-][anonymous]8y 0

But can you handle HDDs, without risking data corruption?

I've never had a problem. I have an iphone and it's never gotten corrupted, and thumb drives are always fine. I haven't tried rubbing my fingers all over one of the disk drives in my computer though

[-][anonymous]8y 0

I see, while we are at, how do you precive magnetic fields? e.g. stretching of the skin. I assume the magnet is located between your skin and your fingers fat pad. I'm wondering since Bakkot reports that rings seems to be a lot less sensitive, I want to know what makes putting it under the skin any diffident.

it mainly feels like a buzzing. It's right up against then never that goes into your fingertip.

[-][anonymous]8y 0

Exclaimer: feel free to ignore my questions.

Interesting, do you know if that is from the push/pull from the magnet on your nerve or if it is a current generated as you move your finger in a magnetic field or something?

I think it's probably the first one. Generated fields feel like buzzing and permanent magnets just feel like a pull, so I think the "buzz" is an effect of the field moving.

Credit to Bakkot for having tried out and reported on magnetic rings, not me.

[-][anonymous]8y 0

Wouups - FIXED - thanks for pointing that out!

[-][anonymous]8y 5

Without any added content or analysis, this is

Better suited to the open thread.

-- Oscar_Cunningham

Nah, I'd much rather see this linked in discussion.

[-][anonymous]8y 4

Calling this a "cyborg hate crime" is somewhat annoying, as "hate crime" is definitely a term needing protection from semantic inflation.

I was quoting the article, he did say that it was inflammatory to call it that and I didn't mean to use it as a semantic buzzword :)

Off-topic, but why is it illegal to use anesthetic?

Sarver was trying a technique he learned in the military to block out the pain, since it was illegal to administer anesthetic for his procedure.

[-][anonymous]8y 3

Aside from running the risk of hurting yourself, you can mess up - real bad, first of a lot of local anesthetics usually contain a cocktail of the anesthetic agent and adrenalin(epinephrine), adrenalin is useful because it induces contraction of the blood vesicles at high concentrations that results in more precise anesthetics, you require a lower dose as well as the prolongs the effect. Though if one uses this cocktail at an end-artery fingers, toes, penis etc. you risk cutting the blood flow to that part of your body, this can result in tissue damage even necrosis (cell death). If you by mistake inject a local anesthesia into an artery/vein there can be rather adverse effects as well.

You can hurt yourself any number of ways that are completely legal.

The argument "X should be illegal because it can be dangerous" doesn't work for me.

If you don't want to get into the political discussion my statement is drawing us into, I totally understand.

I'm confused because Wix responded to a question of the form "Why is X illegal" with an answer of the form "X is illegal because Y", and you seemed to respond as if they had said "X should be illegal because Y".

I'm not sure if it was a good idea to point this out.

You're right. He didn't make the argument "X should be illegal because Y" but the fact that "X is illegal because Y" raises the question, at least to me, should it be so? Is it rational?

Fair enough. On-topic, I feel the most relevant fact is how many people would get hurt if anesthesia were legal.

If that's the downside of Anesthesia being legal, you need to also weigh the benefits on the scale. I imagine it would probably be much cheaper & easier to get, therefore it would be more widely used and many more people could avoid pain if they wanted to.

Good point; I agree that the expected benefit is an equally relevant fact.

I really genuinely love that this is a community where exchanges like this can occur, and everyone can get back to the discussion immediately with no hard feelings. Upvoted both for a well-handled misunderstanding.

[-][anonymous]8y 0

I don't have have a strong opinion about it, but I guess often times there are regulation on things that "can be used for X (which is desirable) , but can easily result in Y (which is dangerous) with out proper training/preparation." take, driving for example. Another more cynical explanation is that the law protects the interest of the medical practitioners e.i. earmark procedures such as stitching, for their benefit.

Cocaine seems to avoid much of these problems when used as a local anesthetic but its also hard to acquire in pure form in the US

[-][anonymous]8y 1

Well, cocaine is a vasoconstrictor in it's own right, that is it mediates the effect of adrenaline and the anesthetic, so you'll still have problems with end arteries. Though I guess injecting into a artery/vein, would have rather pleasant "side effects".

I think part of the reason is that the people who are really into body modification right now aren't strongly interested in anesthetic, and so haven't really fought for it.

The pain is part of it; it creates a full-body euphoria that lasts for several days; it's extraordinarily addictive. I can speak to that from personal experience.

This makes some sense to me. In many cultures body modification (piercing, tattooing, etc.) are part of "coming of age" rituals. The pain is an essential aspect. It helps to make it a more memorable experience.

In fact, I suspect the point of the rituals is to demonstrate that you can handle pain and be left with a hard to forge signal of this fact.

Great point. It could even be both. :)

Using surgical tools like a scalpel is a grey area for piercers. Operating with these instruments, or any kind of anestheia, could be classified as practicing medicine. Without a medical license, a piercer who does this is technically committing assault on the person getting the implant.

So, an action by itself is not assault, but if you do the same action but make sure it doesn't hurt the patient, it is assault?

[-][anonymous]8y 4

Well, some people are unwise enough to visit psychics, shamans and witch doctors instead of actual medicine doctors; I guess this law is supposed to make life harder for self-trained surgeon wannabes.

It seems likely to me that assault isn't involved in this at all, it's just illegal to buy or administer anesthetics without a medical license.

Why is it illegal to buy or administer anesthetics without a medical license? Just defending the monopoly or is there some legitimate reason?

It's not, strictly speaking. I can buy OTC anesthetics myself; lidocaine is in many sunburn creams, for example, and I can apply them to somebody without a medical license.

However, the anesthetics which are used during major surgery are (as far as I know, all) controlled substances, on account of their narcotic properties.

I think you are confusing Anesthetics and Narcotics / Opioids. Like you said, Lidocaine is an anesthetic and in some formulations it is available OTC. As far as I know the injectible form is Prescription only, but there is a difference between being Prescription only & being a Controlled substance (like Morphine, for instance).

I watched the video, and the magnet thing seems pointless. Even if there is a point, why not avoid the hassle and risk of implantation and just carry the magnet around in your pocket?

That would be practical, but I guess the point isn't to be practical. The point is to get attention and to be "cutting-edge". I see this as yet another result of nerd and hipster subcultures colliding, producing something even more unhealthy than either in the process.

You wouldn't feel anything from a magnet in your pocket. The point of the implant is that it is small and touching a lot of your nerves, so the field can be felt.

If you kept the magnet in your pocket, you can take it out whenever you want to test a magnetic field. That seems about 1000x as practical as implanting it via amateur surgery.

The Bottlenose, which gives a sense of echolocation, could be a really useful device, especially because it doesn't involve any kind of surgery. It allows able-bodied people to see in the dark, and more importantly can replace sight for those who are blind.

Unfortunately, from the way they describe it in the article it sounds like it doesn't work very well.