Look, we're usually all for DIY projects. Non-toxic cleaning products? Fabulously DIY-able. A spa day on a budget? Get your DIY on. Giving evolution a jumpstart by turning yourself into an IRL Inspector Gadget via at-home surgery? Go for — wait, what was that last one?
It sounds too X-Files to be true, but that's pretty much the exact premise behind biohacking. Enthusiasts of this rising trend are implanting bits of tech into their bodies in a truly modern quest for self-improvement. (Lean In and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up aren't cutting it for everyone, evidently.) Yes, this is real life; there's a strong online biohacking community, and even an annual conference.
According to Joshua Landy, MD, critical care specialist and cofounder of the medical social media platform Figure 1, "Biohacking falls somewhere between body modification and a surgical procedure… and it's mostly an amateur sport."
That means that a doctor is unlikely to have signed off on — let alone to have performed — such invasive, homespun tweaks as under-the-skin LED lights, fingertip magnets, and, in an attention-grabbing new case shared on Figure 1, a "handy" (sorry, couldn't help ourselves) implanted credit card chip.
About that last one: Dude just waves his hand to pay for stuff. And he's done so for nine whole years. A nurse noticed the chip during a routine x-ray for a different surgical procedure and also learned that Credit Card Guy is planning to, uh, self-install a garage-door opener. We assume a really compact one.
Admittedly, that hand-payment thing is kind of a baller first-date move. But according to Dr. Landy, biohacking isn't the safest idea. You're running serious medical risks, the likeliest of which is infection, and, as Landy points out, "even necessary medical implants get infected in sterile, surgical environments."
For now, we'll stick to being psychologically conjoined with our phones… at least until biohacking goes medically mainstream.