So here’s a bit of news from the human evolution frontier. Grinders, also known as biohackers, are people who identify with transhumanist and biopunk ideologies. Transhumanism is the belief that it is both possible and desirable to so fundamentally alter the human condition through the use of technologies as to inaugurate a superior post-human being. Sounds extreme? Maybe, maybe not. Think heart pacemakers or sub-dermal blood sugar management for diabetics. There are many examples of where modifying the human body is already routine. However, it is probably the DIY aspect of this following story that may make people ask, “Really?” Enjoy!
DIY Headphone Implant
By: Rich Lee
Published: June 24, 2013
This idea was completely inspired by @Saumanahaii ’s thread here:
First, the idea is based on this:
The project is set up like this:
1. implant magnets
2. test implants with coil to make sure audio is picked up
3. implant coil/other parts w/transdermal jack & power charger
Having stuff like this done isn’t really the realm of doctors. Most Grinders rely on body modification artists to install their implants. I’ve had work done by the body modification master Steve Haworth in the past and have relied on him for advice on several project ideas. Steve instinctively knew the best way to go about the implantation in a way that would minimize chances for infection and would leave no scarring. The implant procedure itself went very smoothly and the pain was surprisingly minimal.
The first thing everyone asks is “why would you do this?” Honestly, I don’t feel the need to answer this question. People either get it or they don’t. I’m a Grinder, and we are notorious for getting it.
The second question is usually “what are you going to do with it?”
Listening to music is nice and probably the most obvious answer, but I intend to do some very creative things with it. The implant itself is completely undetectable to the naked eye. The device & coil necklace are are easily concealed under my shirt so nobody can really see it. I can see myself using it with the gps on my smartphone to navigate city streets on foot. I plan to hook it up to a directional mic of some sort (possibly disguised as a shirt button or something) so I can hear conversations across a room. Having a mic hooked up to it and routed through my phone would be handy. You could use a simple voice stress analysis app to detect when people might be lying to you. Not to say that is a hard science, but I’m sure it could come in handy at the poker table or to pre-screen business clients. I have a contact mic that allows you to hear through walls. That might be my next implant actually.
I plan to hook this thing up to an ultrasonic rangefinder so that hums can be heard when objects get closer or further away. This will basically give you a sense of echolocation like a bat has. This could be really handy for blind people (many of whom use echolocation for navigation) since it will be audible only to them and doesn’t require making clicking noises with your mouth or using some other manual noisemaker. Echolocation is something I want to start practicing with now because I might be legally blind soon. I lost much of vision in my right eye overnight a few years back. I just woke up and couldn’t see well up close or far away. My other eye has compensated for the vision loss but the doc says the good eye can go at any time and when it does it will be very rapid. I’ll lose my drivers license, won’t be able to read, and glasses won’t correct the problem. Making money will be harder. A cornea transplant will be my only option and that is a bit out of my budget at the moment. So I figure learning to navigate with echolocation is a good thing to develop now, not that I’ve resigned myself to blindness or anything.
Beyond that, I’d love to hook a geiger counter up to it and experience the world or radiation. Living near the old Nevada nuclear testing grounds provides a lot of opportunity for this. I wouldn’t mind finding some yellow cake uranium while on a hike because that stuff is expensive. Hearing a gentle hiss around warm objects might be a novel way to experience the thermal realm. The implant is going to allow for a lot of new senses. Plugging new sensors into the jack will allow me to experience a lot of the world that is normally invisible. Well, it still might be invisible but now it will be audible. This new synesthesia of sorts is an exciting way to explore the world and develop new instincts about the way the world works around you.
I still have a lot of experimenting to do and a lot of things to troubleshoot. Several things impact sound quality and volume. First, the closer the coils move toward the implant, the louder the sound becomes. Pressing on my tragus and moving the implant closer to the eardrum likewise increases volume. A future implant will definitely be a coil very close to the existing implant. This should reduce my power consumption (I think). I’m also considering adding more magnets in other parts of the outer ear to see if that enhances the effects. It should. Bluetooth will be in a future version as well.
I have a hundred project ideas as well as plans for future implants. I can only do so many at once, but if people are welcome to design and ship me implants if they need a lab rat. I know a lot of hopeful lab rats actually.
Rich Lee is a Space Gangster, businessman, Grinder, and black hat transhumanist; he promotes tech piracy, biohacking, and committing Grand Theft Future. Contact Rich at megalorich @ gmail .com