Biopunks are Pushing the Limits With Implants and DIY Drugs

Rich Lee had armor implanted into his shins at 2016. Soft until struck, the polymer­foam tubes could withstand the full power of a baseball bat swing. The process seemed promising–until his stitches burst, prompting him to rip out the tubes. It hurt like hell, but it won’t prevent him from his next trial. Lee is a part of a broadly con­nected group of biohackers–garage geneticists, chemists, and grinders (those who modify their bodies)–who are extending the capabilities of DIY augmentation. When humans optimize into something out of a sci-fi movie, you can thank those reckless leaders for blazing our enhanced future.


Good Vibrations

Lee, CEO of Cyborgasmics, is developing the Lovetron 9000, an implantable vibrator that rests to a man’s pubic bone. The swipe of a magnet activates constant pulsation, resulting in a pleasing buzz. The suspicious sex apparatus can even sync to music.



Artist Moon Ribas feels real time earthquakes through foot-implanted sensors that get seismic data through an app. She envisions a future of creative awareness: “Imagine visiting a pub, and instead of asking, ‘Where are you from? ‘ What sense, & rsquo; people inquire do you have? ’ ”


Pharma’s Robin Hood

As spokesperson of the DIY medication collective Four Thieves Vinegar, Mixæl Laufer created cheaper versions of drugs such as the EpiPen. This past year, he used off-the-shelf parts to build the Apothecary Microlab, a chemical reactor, also released instructions to concoct drugs at home.



Josiah Zayner recently achieved a breakthrough in open source genetics: a plasmid that lets tinkerers fit any organism’s gene into human cells. In October, Zayner claimed to edit his own DNA, with all Crispr to modify a muscle-growth gene. No Hulk-esque unwanted effects.


Vital Signs

In 2013, Tim Cannon had a buddy slice open his arm to implant a biometric sensor called the Circadia. It monitored his temperature, beaming the information to his tablet via Bluetooth. Now he’s creating a new version that will deliver metrics such as pulse oximetry and blood glucose.


Glow, Dog, Glow

Mississippi dog breeder David Ishee is trying to genetically engineer bioluminescent pooches by infusing his furry friend mastiff’s sperm with modified genes that “glow. ” By altering puppy genes, Ishee hopes to get rid of common ailments in problem-and -shy;plagued purebreds.

This article appears in the February issue. Register today.

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