• BURN MEDIA
    • Motorburn
      Because cars are gadgets
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
      Startup news for emerging markets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!

3 tech body modifications to turn you into a cyborg

If you’ve ever watched Inspector Gadget and wished that you were as cool as him, then you’ve chosen the right time to be alive.

Over the past few years, scientists have worked on ways to integrate technology into the human body, with functionality ranging from medical diagnoses to sheer cool factor.

And according to some scientists, the first person to live to 1000 has already been born.

But while you wait for that technology, here are three body modifications that are as close you’ll get to being a robot today.

Tech tattoos

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology developed temporary tattoos called DuoSkin last year.

These tattoos can work as a trackpad for your device — or even light up when your partner is angry at you, or if your temperature is rising.

And if you desperately want to promote your Instagram, then some even work as NFC tags so no one around you has an excuse not to follow you.

Cindy Hsin-Liu Kao, one of the PhD students involved in this project, is from Taiwan, and she understands the importance of being able to control your appearance. Because of this, she wants to make DuoSkin available to as many people as possible.

“You could just use any graphic design software on your computer like Paint to design the circuit, and then hook it up to this very cheap vinyl cutter and cut out the traces on the film layer on top of tattoo paper,” she says. “After that, you just layer on the gold leaf and then remove it.”

Then it’s simple: apply like you would any temporary tattoo.

Kao believes the future is full of tattoos like this.

“They will become an extension of yourself,” she asserts.

In 2015, a company formerly known as Chaotic Moon created temporary tattoos that used conductive paint to create circuits on your skin.

The tattoos were meant to accumulate medical data about the wearer, standing in for doctor’s appointments.

But a search for them pulls up only news articles. Chaotic Moon are now known as Fjord Austin, and they don’t mention anything about what they dubbed “Tech Tats”.

So this one may just be a pipe dream for now.

Weather-adapting hair dye

A post shared by Kieran Tudor (@kierantudorhair) on

The Unseen premiered their new hair dye that changes colour depending on temperatures at London Fashion Week late last month.

The hair dye works similarly to that of a mood ring.

“When heat hits the pigment, or if the cool hits the pigment, it changes the bonds of the chemistry to give you a different colour, so it’s like a chemical reaction,” creator Lauren Bowker told Dazed.

Colours include a black to red dye that is affected by higher temperatures (around 31 degrees Celsius) and white to blue that works better in winter (changing at 15 degrees Celsius).

The dye is not yet on the market, but they are seeking a brand partner so they can start giving you the hair you deserve.

“Technology like Apple, Google, yes they are technology, but for me technology should be magic and shouldn’t be engineered all the time. To me, chemistry and science is witchcraft – and so it should be,” Bowker says.

Biohacking

Biohacking is a broad term, and it generally refers to DIY biology.

“That could mean figuring out how the DNA in plants affects their growth, or how to manipulate genes from another source to make a plant glow in the dark,” PBS explains.

Procedures can range from RFID implants that can unlock cars and safes, injections to your eye that give you night vision, and antennae that give colours a sound.

But the most popular procedure for beginners is the implantation of magnets under the skin.

The magnet is said to give people a “sixth sense”, allowing them to sense magnetic fields, pick up metal objects and detect iron levels in various metals.

So if you are getting bored of sight and taste and need a novel sensory adventure, then perhaps its time to contact your local body piercing shop and ask them what they can do.

Author | Julia Breakey

Julia Breakey
Julia is a UCT film graduate with a passion for dogs, media, and dog-centric media. If she's not gushing about the new television show that you need to watch, she's rewatching The Good Place (which you need to watch). More

More in Bio Technology

Scientists can now 'print' functional human skin

Read More »