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Body hacking

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(Redirected from Grinder (biohacking))

Body hacking is the application of the hacker ethic (often in combination with a high risk tolerance) in pursuit of enhancement or change to the body's functions through technological means, such as do-it-yourself cybernetic devices[1] or by introducing biochemicals.[2]

Grinders are a self-identified community of body hackers. Many grinders identify with the biopunk movement, open-source transhumanism, and techno-progressivism.[3][4][5] The Grinder movement is strongly associated with the body modification movement and practices actual implantation of cybernetic devices in organic bodies as a method of working towards transhumanism.[3][6] This includes designing and installing do-it-yourself body enhancements, such as magnetic implants.[3][6] Biohacking emerged in a growing trend of non-institutional science and technology development.[7][8][9]

"Biohacking" can also refer to managing one's own biology using a combination of medical, nutritional, and electronic techniques. This may include the use of nootropics, nontoxic substances, and/or cybernetic devices for recording biometric data (as in the quantified self movement).[10]


Grinders largely identify with transhumanist and biopunk ideologies.[7][11] Transhumanism is the belief that it is both possible and desirable to so fundamentally alter the human condition through the use of technologies as to inaugurate a superior post-human being.[12][13][14] Kara Platoni categorizes such technological modifications as "hard" biohacking, noting the desire to expand the boundaries of human perception and even create "new senses".[15][16]

Biopunk is a techno-progressive cultural and intellectual movement that advocates open access to genetic information and espouses the liberating potential of truly democratic technological development.[17][18] Like other punk movements, biopunk encourages the DIY ethic.[11][19] "Grinders" adhere to an anarchist strain of biopunk that emphasizes non-hierarchical science and DIY.[citation needed]

Cyborgs and cyborg theory strongly influence techno-progressivism and transhumanism and are thus influential to both the DIY-bio movement and grinder movement in general.[20] Some biohackers, such as grinders and the British professor of cybernetics Kevin Warwick, actively design and implement technologies that are integrated directly into the organic body.[3] Examples of this include DIY magnetic fingertip implants or Warwick's "Project Cyborg".[3][21][22] Cyborg theory was kickstarted in 1985 with the publication of Donna Haraway's influential "Cyborg Manifesto" but can be traced back all the way to Manfred Clynes and Nathan Klines' article "Cyborgs and Space".[23] This body of theory criticizes the rigidity of ontological boundaries and attempts to denaturalize artificial dichotomies.[20]

Notable people[edit]

  • Kevin Warwick is a British scientist and professor of cybernetics who has been instrumental in advancing and popularizing cyborg technology and biohacking through his self-experiments.[24][25]
  • Steve Mann is a professor of electrical and computer engineering who has dedicated his career to inventing, implementing, and researching cyborg technologies, in particular, wearable computing technologies.
  • Amal Graafstra is known for implanting an RFID chip in 2005 and developing human-friendly chips, including the first-ever implantable NFC chip.[26] In 2013, he founded the biotech startup company Dangerous Things.[27] He is also the author of RFID Toys[28] and speaker on biohacking topics, including a TEDx[29] talk. He has also built a smartgun that is activated by his implants.[30] He has created an implantable cryptographic processor called VivoKey[31] for personal identity and cryptography applications.
  • Lepht Anonym is a biohacker and transhumanist known for self-surgeries and material implementation of transhumanist ideologies.[32]
  • Winslow Strong is a mathematician and physicist.[33]
  • Tim Cannon is a software developer, entrepreneur, and co-founder of biotech startup company Grindhouse Wetware.[34]
  • Jeffrey Tibbetts is the organiser of the Grindfest events at his lab in California. He is a biohacking researcher whose work has been featured in a number of sources, such as Gizmodo.[35]
  • Alex Smith is a biohacker known for his work developing new implants, such as the Firefly implants.[36] He has spoken at various conferences, including DEFCON,[37] and been featured in a number of news articles.[38]
  • Rich Lee is known for implanting headphones in his tragi in 2013, as well as for his work on a vibrating pelvic implant called the Lovetron9000. His biohacking activities were used as a justification to remove his parental custody rights in 2016.[39][40][41][42]
  • Brian Hanley is an American microbiologist who became known for being one of the first biohackers to engineer their own DNA using gene therapy for human enhancement and life extension.[43]
  • Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow implanted a microchip used for the Opal card in Sydney, Australia, though he was subsequently fined $220 for failing to comply with existing transit laws.[44] He also ran against Barnaby Joyce in the Division of New England.[44]
  • Jo Zayner attempted a full fecal microbiota transplant on herself in February 2016.[45] She is also the Founder of the ODIN, a company which delivers DIY-biology and genetic modification kits to consumers.
  • Biohacker Hannes Sjöblad has been experimenting with NFC chip implants since 2015. In his talk at Echappée Voléé 2016 in Paris, Sjöblad said that he has also implanted himself with a chip between his forefinger and thumb and uses it to unlock doors, make payments, unlock his phone, and essentially replace anything that is in his pockets.[46] He has also hosted several "implant parties", where interested parties can get chips implanted.[47]
  • Tim Vasilev is a pioneer of biohacking and the most famous popularizer of the practice in the CIS. In 2018, he opened his own biohacking laboratory, spending more than $2 million, together with partners.[48][49] Vasilev has a decade of experience optimizing health and performance for executives and professional athletes, including Olympic medalists.[50]

Groups and organizations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Biohackers are implanting LEDs under their skin". Motherboard. 9 November 2015.
  2. ^ "This Biohacker Used Eyedrops to Give Himself Temporary Night Vision". Gizmodo. 27 March 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e Popper, Ben (8 August 2012). "Cyborg America: inside the strange new world of basement body hackers". Verge Magazine. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Who We Are". wiki.biohack.me. 28 August 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  5. ^ "DIYBio Codes". DIYBio. 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Body Modifications and Bio-Hacking". wiki.biohack.me. 21 May 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  7. ^ a b Greg Boustead (11 December 2008). "The Biohacking Hobbyist". Seed Magazine. Archived from the original on 22 March 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  8. ^ Phil McKenna (7 January 2009). "Rise of the garage genome hackers". New Scientist. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
  9. ^ Patti Schiendelman (1 January 2009). "DIYBio for biohackers". Make: Online. Archived from the original on 15 March 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2010.
  10. ^ Glen Martin (28 June 2012). "'Biohackers' mining their own bodies' data". SF Gate. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  11. ^ a b Meredith L. Patterson (30 January 2010). "A Biopunk Manifesto". Outlaw Biology? Public Participation in the Age of Big Bio. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  12. ^ Bostrom, Nick (2005). "A History of Transhumanist Thought" (PDF). Journal of Evolution and Technology. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  13. ^ Hayles, Katherine (1999). How we became posthuman: virtual bodies in cybernetics, literature, and informatics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-32139-4.
  14. ^ Katherine Hayles (11 September 2011). "H-: Wrestling with Transhumanism". MetaNexus. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  15. ^ Czuba, Killian (2017). "Fast Forward". Distillations. 2 (4): 44–45. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  16. ^ Platoni, Kara (8 December 2015). We Have the Technology: How Biohackers, Foodies, Physicians, and Scientists Are Transforming Human Perception, One Sense at a Time. Basic Books. pp. 7, 237–254. ISBN 978-0465089970. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  17. ^ Newitz, Annalee (2001). "Biopunk". Archived from the original on 20 December 2002. Retrieved 26 January 2007. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ Newitz, Annalee (2002). "Genome Liberation". Archived from the original on 2 February 2013. Retrieved 26 January 2007. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  19. ^ "Oxford Journal of Design History Webpage". Retrieved 24 September 2007. Yet, it remains within the subculture of punk music where the homemade, A4, stapled and photocopied fanzines of the late 1970s fostered the "do-it-yourself" (DIY) production techniques of cut-n-paste letterforms, photocopied and collaged images, hand-scrawled and typewritten texts, to create a recognizable graphic design aesthetic.
  20. ^ a b Gray, Chris Hables (1995). The Cyborg Handbook. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0415908498.
  21. ^ Warwick, Kevin. "Implants and Technology: The Future of Healthcare?". TEDxWarwick. TED. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  22. ^ "Projects". Grindhouse Wetware. Archived from the original on 27 August 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  23. ^ Clynes, Manfred; Klines (September 1960). "Nathan". Astronautics.
  24. ^ Warwick, K, Gasson, M, Hutt, B, Goodhew, I, Kyberd, P, Andrews, B, Teddy, P and Shad, A:“The Application of Implant Technology for Cybernetic Systems”, Archives of Neurology, 60(10), pp1369-1373, 2003
  25. ^ "Professor has world's first silicon chip implant". Independent.co.uk. 25 August 1998.
  26. ^ "The xNT implantable NFC chip". Indiegogo. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  27. ^ "Dangerous Things". Dangerous Things. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  28. ^ "RFID Toys". amzn.to. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  29. ^ TEDx Talks (17 October 2013), Biohacking – the forefront of a new kind of human evolution: Amal Graafstra at TEDxSFU, archived from the original on 14 December 2021, retrieved 5 May 2016
  30. ^ Motherboard (23 March 2017), Who Killed the Smart Gun?, archived from the original on 14 December 2021, retrieved 26 May 2017
  31. ^ "Vivokey – The future is waiting..." vivokey.com. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  32. ^ Borland, John. "Transcending the Human, DIY Style". Wired Magazine. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  33. ^ Strong, Winslow. "Winslow's Bio". Biohack Yourself: Transcend Your Limits. Retrieved 3 December 2013.
  34. ^ "The DIY Cyborg – VICE". 31 October 2013.
  35. ^ "The Real Science Behind the Crazy Night Vision Eyedrops". Gizmodo. 2 April 2015.
  36. ^ "Firefly Tattoos". Biohack.me. 24 April 2016.
  37. ^ "DEF CON 23 – BioHacking Village – Alex Smith – Cloning Access Cards to Implants". YouTube. Archived from the original on 14 December 2021.
  38. ^ Leitner, Tammy; Capitanini • •, Lisa (21 September 2015). "Human Body Merges With Technology in 'Biohacking' Trend".
  39. ^ Curtis, Sophie (27 May 2016). "Vibrating penises and bionic arms: The inventions turning people into CYBORGS". Daily Mirror.
  40. ^ "The real cyborgs – in-depth feature about people merging with machines". Telegraph.co.uk.
  41. ^ Dujmovic, Jurica. "Biohackers implant computers, earbuds and antennas in their bodies".
  42. ^ "These Young Cyborgs Are Building the Future of Modern Medicine". 14 September 2015.
  43. ^ Regalado, Antonio. "One man's quest to hack his own genes". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 23 April 2017.
  44. ^ a b Sainty, Lane (15 March 2018). "A Self-Described "Cyborg" Who Got A Travel Card Chip Implanted In His Hand Just Got A Ticket Fine". BuzzFeed News.
  45. ^ Duhaime-Ross, Arielle (4 May 2016). "A Bitter Pill". The Verge. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  46. ^ "Au pays des espèces en voie de disparition". Les Echos (in French). 19 February 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  47. ^ "The rise of the Swedish cyborgs". BBC News. 10 December 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  48. ^ "Body work: Russia's 'biohackers' push boundaries". Tech Xplore. 18 February 2020.
  49. ^ "Who got Russian business hooked on biohacking". Inc. (in Russian). 15 October 2019.
  50. ^ "Ten Successful Biohacking Companies and Startups". Biohacking Conference Moscow. 4 June 2019.

External links[edit]