Electronic bodies

By Robert Hickson 30/01/2014

Why go through the pain and expense of getting neural implants if you just want to get cyber-wild for an evening. Katia Vega is developing make-up applications to enable your skin to “act as an interface”.

Better than glow sticks and those shoes that flash when you walk.

But she isn’t all frivolity, as this Wired article notes. She has helped a quadriplegic do some simple tasks for himself. You can find out more about Katia Vega’s projects at her Beauty Technology website.

Looking a little further into the future, the New Yorker had an excellent article last year on material scientist John Rogers and his research on creating integrated circuits that are much more suitable for implanting in or on the body. Some of his devices are already in clinical trials.

The Human Bionic Project, run out of MIT is cataloguing all the existing bionic parts, and are thinking about how to enable different bionic bits to communicate with each other. (If you have trouble connecting to the MIT site, as I did, and which doesn’t inspire confidence in their ability to achieve their goal, then jump over to the article at Co.exist).

Frank Swain considers some of the personal and ethical issues associated with being a “cyborg” – that is having hearing aids – in the BBC’s Beyond Human series. While such implantable devices may belong to you, you currently don’t have free reign over what you can do with them. If you have Google glasses and I have retinal implants do we both have to tell people we are recording them?

It seems that it will be a rapidly shifting landscape in both what we can put on and in our bodies, and what will be acceptable to do with these devices.