First – what in the world is biohacking? In essence, biohacking is DIY biological experimenting. That sounds a little Frankensteiny, but stay with us here, it’s not quite that ominous. The latter portion of the word, ‘hacking’, usually is accompanied by a negative connotation. But, in this case, ‘hacking’ simply means creating and building things and challenging the pro forma standards.
Biohacking labs around the country operate solely on membership fees or grants for their members to test their theories and perform experiments. Often times, these experiments are aimed at creating some type of product but at its heart, biohacking labs are established to give inquisitive minds a forum in which to learn and exercise their curiosity.
The niches within biohacking are fascinating. Individuals have worked on maximizing their own biological state (i.e. increased brain function, optimized metabolism), manipulating DNA (creating glowing plants or optimizing bacteria to compute problems) or becoming somewhat bionic by implanting technology into their bodies.
An exciting effect of biohacking is that since these crowdsourced labs are operating under their own rules, the opportunity for great scientific advancements is prodigious. Not to say that anything immoral is taking place in these facilities, but normally, if working in a private lab, scientists must break through a lot of red tape before getting their projects approved, if ever. The power is placed in the hands of the experimenter with a biohacking lab. With the added freedom, would-be scientists who would otherwise not have the opportunity to explore their ideas, are now in a position to collaborate with more experienced biologists to bring their ideas to fruition.
Near Field Communications
One such idea that has come to fruition is implanting NFC (near-field communications) into the human body. NFC is characterized by two electronic devices which are able to establish communication between themselves. This communication is bi-directional and does not need Wi-Fi, LTE or 3G to work. This particular invention takes that technology and implants it into a person’s hand/s. Preliminary uses of the implant are to do common things more efficiently such as getting into your home (auto-unlocks without a key as long as the NFC device is within 4cm of its paired device), starting your car or unlocking a safe. Having the autoresponder embedded into your skin eradicates the need to carry multiple devices or, in this case, keys.
Medical Data Storage
While the prospect of not ever having to worry about finding your keys again is interesting, it’s not exactly what most of us would deem a necessity. But, another idea floating around regarding NFC is giving it the ability to store medical data. This would enable a physician to quickly download your medical records in an emergency situation or if travelling abroad and in need of medical care.
It’s difficult to predict the potential biohacking holds in improving people’s lives. With the possibilities virtually endless there’s no telling who may come up with what in the near future. The important takeaway here is that technology has enabled us to accomplish astonishing things and we’re truly on the presuppose of exciting scientific advancements.