Just last week, the Blaze brought you the story of the professional body piercer in New Jersey who embedded magnets into his wrist so he could wear his iPod Nano like like a bandless watch. Now researchers are taking the discussion of incorporating technology and human systems to the next level, begging the question: would you consider implanting a technological interface into your body?
At the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Austin, Texas, this week, researchers are discussing just this possibility. New Scientist reports that researchers have already checked to see if current technology would make this possible. The answer is yes:
A button, an LED and a touch sensor all functioned appropriately when embedded under the skin of a cadaver's arm. The team was even able to communicate transcutaneously using a Bluetooth connection and charge the electronics wirelessly.
"That's the bottom line," says Christian Holz of the Autodesk team [...].
New Scientist voices what you may be thinking about controlling a device simply by touching your skin -- that it's "creepy" and there is room for worry about malfunctions and infections -- but it speculates as technology continues to become more present in our lives, the creep factor will go away. The example it offers is the now accepted use of a pacemaker to regulate the heart:
"In general, the trend has been that people are more and more willing to incorporate bits of the machine world into themselves," says Sherry Turkle, a sociologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
"The perception [of this technology] 10 years ago would differ from today and from what we would get in 10 years' time," agrees Holz.
Turkle wants people to be cautious about these advancements though. She told New Scientist she worries about people who can't seem to live without their phones even for a moment. There is actually a condition for this known as nomophobia in which one has a fear of being separated from his or her cellphone.
While still reserved in its verdict on the topic New Scientist states that if such a condition exists and if humanity is getting so attached to devices, perhaps a phone implant is really the "most obvious" next step.