The human augmentation market could increase tenfold, to $2.3 billion, in seven years. Biohacking advocates say 100,000 people around the world have already been transformed into human cyborgs, which means they have microchip implants in their bodies to open doors, store passwords, hold personal data, and or even for simulation sex.
Patrick Kramer, the chief executive officer of Digiwell, a Hamburg startup turning people into cyborgs, spoke with Bloomberg about microchipping and body hacking.
Kramer said he had implanted about 2,000 microchips in the past 18 months, and even told Bloomberg that he has three chips in his hands: one to open his office door, another to store health data, and the last enables him to share contact information.
Digiwell is one of a handful of biohacking and human augmentation companies in Europe and estimates that there are about 100,000 cyborgs worldwide. “The question isn’t ‘Do you have a microchip?” Kramer says. “It’s more like, ‘How many?’ We’ve entered mainstream.”
Advisory firm Gartner Inc. identified do-it-yourself biohacking as an emerging technology trend– others include artificial intelligence, automation, and blockchain with the potential to severely disrupt businesses heading into 2020.
Another research firm OG Analysis predicts the human augmentation market, which includes bionic limbs and computer brains could grow more than tenfold, to $2.3 billion. “We’re only at the beginning of this trend,” says Oliver Bendel, a professor at the University of Applied Science & Arts Northwestern Switzerland who specializes in machine ethics.
A Spanish dancer named Moon Ribs told Bloomberg she has a microchip in her arm connected to seismic sensors, which is triggered by earthquakes. She uses the technology in a performance art piece called Waiting for Earthquakes. Neil Harbisson, a colorblind artist from Ireland, has sensors in his head that lets him “hear” colors. And lastly, if these cyborgs are not weird enough, Rich Lee, from Utah, developed a cyborg sex toy he calls the Lovetron 9000, a vibrating device to be implanted in the pelvis.
Lee gave a speech at BdyHax, a conference in Austin earlier this year that brought together national and international speakers on wearable and implantable tech, brain-computer interfaces,