Cheap Biohacking

Today’s Fark brings the story of Jasmine Tridevil, a Florida woman who had plastic surgery to add a third breast. Tridevil sought the surgery to make her interesting enough for a reality show on MTV. Tridevil has not gotten the reaction she had bargained for and is now estranged from her family. I also imagine shopping for clothing is a bit more difficult. Added to this, the entire story is possibly a fake, but that is not what is important here.

Setting aside the obvious comparisons to Eccentrica Gallumbits, biohacking is both the forefront of biological research and its long-running past. Biohacking consists of body augmentation with technological devices, such as a electronics, or natural enhancements, such as laboratory grown organs. But extreme body augmentation is only the latest form of an old science. Cochlear implants have provided a technical solution for the hearing impaired for decades. Glasses have improved eyesight for centuries. Newer technologies such as artificial organs and transplants have similarly extended life and improved the quality of life for many years.

These tools will dramatically increase the standard of living around the world as they improve and come down in cost. 3D printing technology has placed small-scale fabrication within the reach of many and the MIT Technology Review reported on a 3D biological printer in 2013 for DIY. Decreased cost and increased availability will drive an explosion of innovation. Some people will use that for unique and diverse forms of body modification such as traditional neck elongation or even an envisioned tail. But the long term benefits to humanity are going to be increased life and happiness as cheap and effective transformations make people healthier around the world.