Tag Archives | cyborgs

Artist Neil Harbisson Is The World’s First Legally-Recognized Cyborg

harbisson Dezeen writes that the sensory augmentation device worn by the completely colorblind Harbisson is now recognized by authorities as part of his face:

Barcelona-based Harbisson wears a head-mounted antenna attached to a chip at the back of his skull that allows him to perceive colours. Harbisson charges his eyeborg via a USB power cable that attaches to the back of his head.

Harbisson wears the “eyeborg” headset to overcome a visual impairment called achromatopsia, which means he sees the world in shades of grey. The eyeborg turns colours into sounds, allowing him to “hear” them.

After a long battle with the UK authorities, Harbisson’s passport now carries a photo of him wearing his eyeborg, making him the world’s first government-recognised cyborg. In 2010, Harbisson founded the Cyborg Foundation – an organisation whose mission statement is to “help humans become cyborgs, to promote the use of cybernetics as part of the human body and to defend cyborg rights.”

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Brave New Biohacking

GH LogoShadJessica Firger describes the cyberpunk underground science dungeon making history with a biosensor device, for Al Jazeera America:

PITTSBURGH — In the basement of a suburban two-story house on a quiet road just outside Pittsburgh, six mostly self-taught scientists tinker with an assortment of computer parts and electric equipment. They plan one day on becoming cyborgs — a future that may be closer than you think.

They are Grindhouse Wetware — three men and three women — and they describe themselves as a “ragtag group of programmers, engineers and enthusiasts” who build cybernetic devices. They find inspiration in both current technology and science fiction.

“I don’t want to go to space in a spaceship. I want to be a spaceship,” said Tim Cannon, Grindhouse’s 34-year-old co-founder whose basement serves as the group’s headquarters and scientific lab.

Today, at an international body-modification conference in Essen, Germany, Grindhouse will make history as the first in the DIY-science community — i.e., not affiliated with any academic institution or corporation — to develop and implant an interactive electronic device in a human being.

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Are Cyborg Cockroach Kits Ethical?

news-roboroachI can’t say this seems any less or more ethical than smacking the bejeezus out of the things with shoes or spraying them with chemicals…

Via Wired:

RoboRoach #12 and its brethren are billed as a do-it-yourself neuroscience experiment that allows students to create their own “cyborg” insects. The roach was the main feature of the TEDx talk by Greg Gage and Tim Marzullo, co-founders of an educational company called Backyard Brains. After a summer Kickstarter campaign raised enough money to let them hone their insect creation, the pair used the Detroit presentation to show it off and announce that starting in November, the company will, for $99, begin shipping live cockroaches across the nation, accompanied by a microelectronic hardware and surgical kits geared toward students as young as 10 years old.

That news, however, hasn’t been greeted warmly by everyone. Gage and Marzullo, both trained as neuroscientists and engineers, say that the purpose of the project is to spur a “neuro-revolution” by inspiring more kids to join the fields when they grow up, but some critics say the project is sending the wrong message.

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Skynet rising: Google acquires 512-Qubit Quantum Computer; NSA Surveillance to be Turned Over to AI Machines

TRANSHUMANVia NaturalNews.com

Most people don’t know about the existence of quantum computers. Almost no one understands how they work, but theories include bizarre-sounding explanations like, “they reach into alternate universes to derive the correct answers to highly complex computational problems.”

Quantum computers are not made of simple transistors and logic gates like the CPU on your PC. They don’t even function in ways that seem rational to a typical computing engineer. Almost magically, quantum computers take logarithmic problems and transform them into “flat” computations whose answers seem to appear from an alternate dimension.

For example, a mathematical problem that might have 2 to the power of n possible solutions — where n is a large number like 1024 — might take a traditional computer longer than the age of the universe to solve. A quantum computer, on the other hand, might solve the same problem in mere minutes because it quite literally operates across multiple dimensions simultaneously.

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A Cyborgologist On What Facebook and Google Glass Really Mean

jurgensonThis week the Mindful Cyborgs podcast interviewed Nathan Jurgenson, the co-founder of the site Cyborgology, co-founder of the Theorizing the Web conference, a contributing editor at The New Inquiry and a sociology graduate student at the University of Maryland.

There’s a full transcript on Technoccult, or you can listen to or download the audio from Soundcloud or iTunes.

Here are some excerpts:

If you’ve taken a lot of photos, if you’re a photographer and you spend a lot of time with the camera in your hand or up your eye. You develop the thing that is called the “camera eye,” that is even when the camera is not at your eye you start to see the world through the logic of the camera mechanism. You see the world as a potential photo with a framing, lighting, the depth of field and so forth. And that’s called the camera eye and I think social media, especially Facebook, has given us the sort of documentary vision or the Facebook eye where you see the world as a potential Facebook post or tweet or Instagram photo.

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Scientists Create Bionic Ear With Superhuman Range Of Frequency Hearing

bionic ear

Wearing a pair of these in the modern urban environment sounds torturous. Via Science Daily:

Scientists at Princeton University used off-the-shelf printing tools to create a functional ear that can “hear” radio frequencies far beyond the range of normal human capability. The scientists used 3D printing of cells and nanoparticles followed by cell culture to combine a small coil antenna with cartilage, creating what they term a bionic ear.

“This field has the potential to generate customized replacement parts for the human body, or even create organs containing capabilities beyond what human biology ordinarily provides,” the researchers wrote.

The ear in principle could be used to restore or enhance human hearing. Electrical signals produced by the ear could be connected to a patient’s nerve endings, similar to a hearing aid. The current system receives radio waves, but the research team plans to incorporate other materials, such as pressure-sensitive electronic sensors, to enable the ear to register acoustic sounds.

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The CIA’s Secret Project To Turn Cats Into Spies

History’s earliest animal cyborgs? In the 1960s the CIA implanted cats with technological devices to turn them into living surveillance machines, io9 reveals:

In an hour-long procedure, a veterinary surgeon implanted a microphone into the furry feline’s ear canal and a small radio transmitter at the base of her skull, and weaving a thin wire antenna into her long gray-and-white fur. This was top-secret Operation Acoustic Kitty. The leaders of the project hoped that by training the feline to go sit near foreign officials, they could eavesdrop on private conversations.

The problem was that cats are not especially trainable, and the program was abandoned; as a heavily redacted CIA memo from the time delicately phrased it, “Our final examination of trained cats…convinced us that the program would not lend itself in a practical sense to our highly specialized needs.”

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National Intelligence Council Predicts Cyborg Enhancements and Augmented Reality

Picture: TenaciousMe (CC)

Remember daydreaming about robots and cyborgs as a kid? They’re almost here! Bad news, though: They’ll be killing machines. What could possibly go wrong? You’re welcome, future.

WIRED reports on some of the predictions of the National Intelligence Council:

We’ve seen experimental prosthetics in recent years that are connected to the human neurological system. The Council says the link between man and machine is about to get way more cyborg-like. “As replacement limb technology advances, people may choose to enhance their physical selves as they do with cosmetic surgery today. Future retinal eye implants could enable night vision, and neuro-enhancements could provide superior memory recall or speed of thought,” the Council writes. “Brain-machine interfaces could provide ‘superhuman’ abilities, enhancing strength and speed, as well as providing functions not previously available.”

And if the machines can’t be embedded into the person, the person may embed himself in the robot.

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Bio-Robot Walks With Aid of Rat Heart Cells

What’s that? You’re all out of nightmare fuel? Here’s an undead-cyborg-slime-bot cobbled together out of rat heart cells and gel. Possible use? Drug screening. Fill er’ up.

Via NBC:

With the aid of a 3-D printer, researchers have fashioned soft, quarter-inch-long biological robots out of gel-like material and rat heart cells. When the cells beat, the bio-bots take a step.

The robots resemble tiny springboards, each with one long, thin leg resting on a stout supporting leg. The thin leg is covered in the heart cells. When the cells beat, the long leg pulses, propelling the bio-bot forward, according to the research team from the University of Illinois.

Keep reading.

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Researchers Developing Robotic Police Officers

With municipalities desperate to reduce budgets, use of remotely-controlled robots for some law enforcement duties is an inevitability. CNET reports:

Researchers at Florida International University’s Discovery Lab are working with a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves to build telepresence robots that could patrol while being [remotely] controlled by disabled police officers.

Students and professors at the Discovery Lab have been working with the two-wheeled, military-grade IHMC robots built under a $2 million DARPA initiative. The patrol bot prototype, which will have two-way video and audio, will be based on them.

They would work as patrol officers, operating wheeled telepresence robots and doing everything from responding to 911 calls and writing parking tickets to ensuring the security of nuclear facilities. Remote-controlled robots are already used in military, medical, and business applications, and the lab believes law enforcement is a natural next step.

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