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Body Hacking: If You Can’t Open It, You Don’t Own It

Magnet Implant

Brian @ Hackszine write –

Quinn Norton has posted the slides from the popular Body Hacking talk she gave at O’Reilly’s recent ETech conference. She defines body hacking as:

Acting on yourself, with or without assistance, to enhance the function of your body or your perceptions. Body hacking is, like all other forms of hacking, ultimately a form of violation: the freedom to enact your will upon a system.

Going beyond the more obviously transgressive body modifications (such as scarring, piercing, tattoos, and subdermal implants), she shows that much more is at stake than cosmetics, for both body hackers in particular and society in general. Co-opting Make‘s mantra (“if you can’t open it, you don’t own it”) to our own physical body, she points out the need for control (or at least an attempt at control) of our most important asset: ourselves.

Quinn herself has a rare earth magnet implanted in her finger, giving her a “sixth sense” (in addition to the obvious ability to lift small metallic objects with a single finger), which is itself fascinating, though not nearly as interesting as hearing her describe the process of getting it, her reaction and response to it in her body, and the larger implications for such a procedure.

I heard Quinn deliver a more informal version of this talk to a smaller, rapt audience last year, and all indications suggest that the response is the same every time she gives it. If you haven’t had the chance to hear it directly from her, you’ll want to check out the slides and video links at the end of this post. Quinn’s really putting body hacking on our radar as a fascinating area that’s moving quickly.


(via Boing Boing)

14 thoughts on “Body Hacking: If You Can’t Open It, You Don’t Own It

  1. radiorental says:

    “Acting on yourself, with or without assistance, to enhance the function of your body or your perceptions.”

    Like wearing shoes or glasses, getting fillings from the dentist, wearing a coat in winter, shaving or even simply washing the sleep from your eyes in the morning (o;

  2. trebuchet03 says:

    I remember reading about magnetic finger implants a few months ago…. the biggest problem being skin death due to the skin directly “above” the magnet being pinched :/

    I’ll have to read what’s posted here :D

  3. roddefig says:

    And when she sticks her hand near a credit card, TV, etc etc etc….

  4. wyandots says:

    I’ve heard identical “body control” statements from anorexics and cutters. But confusing it with political polemic is a new one.

  5. says:

    Credit cards take a very potent magnet to die. And your fingers never go close enough to a crt to bother it, except maybe when adjusting the settings. In which case there will be no problem when it is that close for that short a time.

  6. rich.thomas says:

    I’m thinking that if I put some big magnets in my body I could hop rides for free on cars, trucks, trains, and buses and not have to worry about falling off. It would not work with airplanes since they are made of aluminum, but it would be kinda fun to go through the scanner gate at the airport.

  7. Bayne17 says:

    I’m thinking that if I implanted a couple magnets in my posterior, I’d be able to get the change out of peoples sofas and make a few bucks (I’m in Canada so our coins contain nickel).

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