By 1 July 2013 | Categories: news


Cybernetic implants and modifying one's capabilities using technology imbedded in the human body may sound straight from the realms of science fiction but, in fact the movement towards enhancing oneself cybernetically is already underway.

The latest development to highlight the trend comes from Rich Lee, a 34 year old entrepreneur and self-identified ‘grinder’ or body modifier, who had magnets surgically implanted in his ears. When paired with a coil that he slings around his neck, an amplifier and a power supply, Lee can then play music and hear sounds directly within his ear.

The procedure though, seems relatively non-invasive. Rather than relying on a surgeon, Lee instead turned to a body modification artist.  

The setup adds another dimension to volume control, as the closer the coil is moved to Lee’s ears, the louder the volume of the sound becomes.

A sense of the future

However, playing music without hassling about headphones is not the only application of the implants  - Lee indicated on hplusmagazine that he has some other “creative things” planned. He elaborated that, as the power device and coil necklace are easily hidden under one’s shirt, he envisions using the implant with his GPS to navigate cities on foot. Additionally, he alluded to plans to add a directional microphone, which would enable him to hear conversations across a room.

The implants have a more serious and immediate application for Lee though, as a means of compensating for the loss of vision in his right eye and the deterioration of his sight. To this end, Lee believes he could connect the ear implant set-up to an ultrasonic rangefinder, which would produce hums depending on his distance to objects. This, he explained, could provide a form of echolocation, as used by bats to navigate their environment.

To the point

In a frank and at times amusing video, Lee explains the project in more detail. Some of the  questions that Lee reads out in the video below are particularly laughable, such as one that queries whether he is a ‘tool of the Illuminati.’ Lee retorts that unfortunately all the Illuminati tool positions were filled for this year but he may have better luck applying in the future.

On a more serious note, it does beg the question whether we are seeing the infancy of yet another sci-fi technology becoming real, applicable technology that could provide innovative and genuinely beneficial solutions to the problems associated with losing one’s senses. Take a look at the video below to hear more about Lee’s approach.  


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