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I've decided on my first two body mods.

No, I don't mean tattoos or piercings or anything like that; I already have those. I mean real body mods. Functional body mods.

icedrake pointed me to this link, which in turn points to a larger article here, about researchers who are creating new senses by piggybacking onto existing senses.

It's neat stuff. For example, researchers have taken a camera, connected its output to a device that you wear on your tongue (which has a very large number of sensory nerves crowded very close together), which "draws" a "picture" of what the camera sees onto your tongue using subtle electrical currents. Now hold on to your hat, Dorothy, 'cause this is the part where Kansas goes bye-bye...not only does this allow people to navigate blindfolded, but afterward, their memories of the experience aren't memories of feelings on their tongue, but visual memories. This suggests, though it has not yet been confirmed by fMRI scans, that the visual cortex of the brain quickly and seamlessly takes over processing the information being presented to the tongue. And that suggests that our brain's ability to interpret data from new senses actually outstrips our sensory system, meaning that adding new senses to human beings should be a pretty straightforward matter.

I already know the first two I want.

First, I want tiny neodymium magnets surgically implanted in my fingertips so that I can feel magnetic fields. (This is no surprise; I've talked about this before.)

Next, I want a series of tiny holes drilled all the way around the edge of my hip bone. Why, you ask? Why, for the piezo transducers, of course! I want a row of tiny piezo transducers implanted all along the edge of my pelvic girdle, all the way around, connected to a device (which I figure can be tucked in beneath one of my kidneys) which can detect which way is magnetic north and vibrate the transducer that faces north. Tat way, I will always have an immediate, unerring, and flawless sense of direction.

Dammit, this stuff should be easy. In fact, I'm even willing to forego having the flying car I was promised in kindergarten if I can get this instead.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 23rd, 2007 08:34 pm (UTC)
Given that I'm a stroke recoverer it just freaks me out to deliberately mess up my sensory nerves *shudder*... I'm having enough difficulty learning to reconnect the wires...
May. 23rd, 2007 10:36 pm (UTC)
Theoretically, the more stimulus you have, the faster you will learn.

May. 23rd, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC)
theoretically... but I suspevt the crossing of sensory information might not b helpful....
May. 24th, 2007 03:24 am (UTC)
Should be the opposite. Building new sensory nets tends to reinforce existing ones, not conflict with them. Like memorizing stuff -- the more sensory modalities you engage, the easier it is to recall. Neural nets like redundancy, especially when they have to deal with damage.

May. 23rd, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC)
Wouldn't your vasectomy count as your first functional body mod? I certainly count my tubal in this caliber :)
Jun. 1st, 2007 01:31 am (UTC)
Okay, good point. Though I could argue a technicality and say it doesn't count, because it removes a normal function rather than adding a new one...
May. 23rd, 2007 08:46 pm (UTC)
I've been wanting the magnetic sensors for a while but sadly it would become a real crippling liability in my workplace *pout*. Also I would be worried about being near any truly stout electric motors as the fringing fields from those would certainly be a concern.
May. 23rd, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
May. 23rd, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
Doesn't have to be that intrusive. You can paint sensory pictures on the skin of your back, for instance. The US military has been playing with this stuff for a while.

Jun. 1st, 2007 01:33 am (UTC)
Well, yeah, but then you have this bulky equipment you gotta wear around with you. I want something more...intrinsic. Something that still works when I'm buck nekkid, you know?
May. 24th, 2007 03:25 am (UTC)
Surely there must be an easier way to get an unerring sense of direction! (At least I hope so; would love to have that myself). :-o
Jun. 1st, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
Well, tere is, but this implant has the advantages that you don't have to put it on and you can't forget it. I like the idea of a built-in direction sense that relies on nothing external.

Besides, scars are cool. :)
May. 24th, 2007 05:12 am (UTC)
It should come a no surprise that I agree with you, though terriwells is right that there should be a simpler and more elegant means of imbuing yourself with a built-in compass. Maybe a single implant in the tip of your nose? It's soft, easy to get to, and has a high nerve density.

Regarding your second point I have good news for you, my dear archnemesis. You want to implant small pieces of metallic material in your body? Well it just so happens that I've been working very hard on that exact problem! Each unit in my nascent robot army comes equipped with a device specially designed to "implant" up to 800 pieces of metal per minute into your body! Better still, they can do this accurately, quickly, and at startling ranges, even in total darkness, bad weather, or through walls, body armor, vehicles, and school children!

Back on a more serious note, the very idea of finding a practical application for synesthesia is a wonderful hack! Our brains are notoriously proprietary and non-upgradable, so a workaround like this really stands out.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )