Cyborgs are here, and they’re not what you expected. Or at least, not what I expected. When I think of cyborg, I think of the Daleks in Dr Who or The Borg in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dr. Who and the likes, cyborgs are living organisms with physical capabilities extended or augmented by mechanical implants. This open ended definition doesn’t define where organism ends and cyborg begins. For example, does someone with a prosthetic leg fall under the category of cyborg? How much of the organism must be ‘living’? I’m sure these limits will be clarified as experiments with cyborgs evolve.
The modern cyborg however, has finally arrived. Have you heard of the DragonflEye? Draper, the company responsible for this experiment, says “[t]he dragonfly wears a tiny backpack fitted with electronics, sensors and a solar cell…” You can find more about how this works on their site, but essentially they are able to control the DragonflEye by sending commands to neurons inside the dragonfly’s nerve cord and thus guide its flight path. Fascinating! From guided pollination to spy missions, these cyborg DragonflEyes may be the stars of the next Mission Impossible.
Speaking of which, cyborg technology opens the window to a whole new array of possibilities for tech. mission control. If we can control the flight path of dragonflys, what may be next on the list of cyborg animals… and what about people? Now wouldn’t that be the perfect undercover spy- an unwilling but controlled cyborg host. Maybe Trump is a Russian cyborg! (Just kidding of course).
As I took a dive into the world of cyborgs, I also came across a multitude of human-concept (my own term!) cyborgs. There are already people out there who use mechanical implants to enhance their current capabilities. From Steve Haworth who can feel electromagnetic fields through an implant in his fingertips, to someone who can start a motorbike with a chip implant, people are beginning to create a symbiosis of sorts with technology.
I’ve always put bio-engineering first as means to modify human-kind over mechanical modification. I never thought simple procedures such as a magnetic implant in the fingertip could open a ‘sixth sense’ just like that. Think of all the ways we can augment our senses and enhance our capabilities by these cyborg ‘body hacks’.
But are you ready to become a cyborg?!