November 30, 2004

Bots on the Move

[From The ARQuake Photo Gallery which is a part of the Tinmith augmented reality project]

Posted by nym at 10:15 PM | TrackBack

November 07, 2004

Stelarc, Cyborg Artist

Just found a series of links about an interesting cyborg-artist, who has been working in performance art since the 1970s. BMEZine has an article about his earlier work with suspensions, but I think you'll appreciate his more cyborganic experimentations:

'In these times of health fascism and body image disorder, even the most toned-up can always find something that needs a little more work. But hardly anyone can be prepared to take things as far as the Australian performance artist Stelarc. When he looks in the mirror in the morning, he sees a body that isn't so much out of condition as obsolete, something that doesn't need a weekly workout so much a total workover. "The only was I see is that the body is mass produced but at the moment it doesn't have any replaceable parts. OK, we're making artificial organs. But this is just a medical approach. What we really need is a design approach. If you have a heart that wears out after 70 years, this to me is an engineering problem. We should start to re-engineer the body."' [from Stelarc, Cyberhuman? by [email protected] / I-D Magazine]

And from CTHEORY:


'Stelarc's art, often referred to as cyborg experiments, integrates inorganic matter with his body by renewing the neural activity that maintains equilibrium. By extending his body through heuristic machines, Stelarc redesigns and remaps perception. While his suspension events are worthy of debate, Stelarc's later experiments with multimedia stimuli and the body and ideas concerning artificial intelligence will be the objects of focus. Ping Body an Internet Actuated and Uploaded Performance and ParaSite for Invaded and Involuntary Body are performances that occurred from 1995-98 and his artificial life experiment Movatar an Inverse Motion Capture System is on-going.

The objectification of the body, a theory that informs Stelarc's cyborg experiments, is not actually a modern idea. The body as a machine, is a theory that is tied to the work of the seventeenth century thinker Rene Descartes.[3] In 1637, Descartes published the Discourse on Method . The body is composed of only mechanical functioning, wrote Descartes. The body and mind were distinctly separate for Descartes, who thought the body a machine, to be informed by the higher order rationality of the mind, that was imbued with pneuma (breath of God or soul).[4] Stelarc's body and mind have been hollowed out from this dualistic theory. It does not mean he is an atheist, as if his mind or soul does not exist. Rather, he revitalizes the body with respect to consciousness.' [The Body Without Memory: An Interview with Stelarc by Mark Fernandes]

Selarc's experiments seem similar in many regards to the work of The Psymbiote and Steve Mann. I sure hope Stelarc brings his peformances to Los Angeles!

[Official website, Recent peformances via snfg on]

Posted by nym at 02:38 PM | TrackBack

October 23, 2004


brain_in_a_jar.jpgMy brother just wrote me from Santa Cruz about a bit of futuretech:

Did you hear about the "Living Brain in a Jar"? I think this stuff is really cool!! This guy is culturing rat neurons on an electrode array which he has hooked up to a computer, essentially making a living neural network. He even got the brain to control a flight simulator! Cyborgism around the corner?


Posted by nym at 04:20 PM | TrackBack

October 13, 2004

Cyborg Rumsfeld

Turns out cyborg bush has a companion in his ranks:



Posted by nym at 04:20 PM | TrackBack

Cameras and the War


GR2_Lonewolf.jpgThe above photo is a video game rendition of the Future Force Warrior for a new game, Ghost Recon 2. This photo, and the one from the army to the right are what our modern army is probably going to look like. On the opposite of the spectrum, a 27 minute film has been released called "60 Cameras against the War", which is one of the first compiled witnessal networks exposing the truth behind the 2003 anti-war protest in New York city. According to the film, protesters were denied permits to protest legally:

"To our great shock and outrage, a federal appeals court upheld the decision by Federal Judge Barbara Jones ruled on February 10 that the City of New York can deny United for Peace and Justice a permit to march on February 15. Citing "heightened security concerns," she ruled that we may only hold a stationary rally. We are accepting the rally permit, and our massive demonstration to stop the Iraq war will go forward no matter what. But we are appalled by this attack on our basic First Amendment rights, and we will continue to fight for the right to march. We are asking all of our supporters to protest vigorously against this attempt to stifle the growing opposition to Bush's war." [United for Peace & Justice]

I'm excited about the Future Force Warrior program, and the use of cameras by anti-war protesters, but it's important to be aware of the barriers between citizens and authority, especially when the government is suiting up police with the same kind of helmet cameras that the Future Force Warrior program is pushing.

I just hope that these cameras are designed to be open and free for everyone to see. When the police break the rules they're supposed to enforce, there should be a recording to make them accountable.


[Link to 60 Minutes Against the War (hosted for free by]

Posted by nym at 01:56 PM | TrackBack

August 22, 2004

Disabled or Crossbow-Enabled?


Don't mess with Cyborgs.

'Great photogallery of a TenPoint Crossbow that has been retrofitted to be mounted on and fired from a powered wheelchair. The paralysed owner of the bow "bagged two deer on his first evening hunting."'

[Link via boingboing]

Posted by nym at 06:15 PM | TrackBack

August 08, 2004

Cyborg Democracy

babyfist2.jpgJust found a new blog called Cyborg Democracy.

"[Cyborg Democracy is] a collaborative blog for democratic transhumanists, nanosocialists, revolutionary singularitarians, non-anthropocentric personhood theorists, radical futurists, leftist extropians, bioutopians and biopunks, socialist-feminist cyborgs, transgenders, body modifiers, basic income advocates, world federalists, agents of the Culture and the Cassini Division, Viridians and technoGaians - transmitting a sexy, high-tech vision of a radically democratic future."

Okay wow. WTF? Now I need to read deeper.


Posted by nym at 01:36 PM | TrackBack

August 07, 2004

Helmet Head


Looks like some relic from the 80's. Maybe they don't get mugged enough in NY anymore.

[via engadget]

Posted by nym at 04:40 PM | TrackBack

July 31, 2004

Cyborg Tom Brooks


Robert Vitalini from, a cool futurism/trends site, sent me this photo of his friend Tom Brooks as an igargoyle photo submission.

Thanks Rob!

Posted by nym at 08:28 PM | TrackBack

July 20, 2004

Natural Born Cyborgs

I just found this book, called "Natural Born Cyborgs" by Andy Clark, which I imagine is a good technological-read. Clark has written 27 other books, many dealing with artificial inteligence and cognitive science.

Another book that Clark has written, "Mindware" was reviewed as being

"...the single best thing I could read to obtain an up-to-date overview of what's going on in cognitive science. The book lived up to this promise. I found it an excellent, scientifically and philosophically informed, treatment of this topic." [Raymond M. Bergner]

Since I haven't read either books, here is a description of Clark's "Natural Born Cyborgs":

"In Natural-Born Cyborgs, Clark argues that what makes humans so different from other species is our capacity to fully incorporate tools and supporting cultural practices into our existence. Technology as simple as writing on a sketchpad, as familiar as Google or a cellular phone, and as potentially revolutionary as mind-extending neural implants--all exploit our brains' astonishingly plastic nature. Our minds are primed to seek out and incorporate non-biological resources, so that we actually think and feel through our best technologies. Drawing on his expertise in cognitive science, Clark demonstrates that our sense of self and of physical presence can be expanded to a remarkable extent, placing the long-existing telephone and the emerging technology of telepresence on the same continuum. He explores ways in which we have adapted our lives to make use of technology (the measurement of time, for example, has wrought enormous changes in human existence), as well as ways in which increasingly fluid technologies can adapt to individual users during normal use. Bio-technological unions, Clark argues, are evolving with a speed never seen before in history. As we enter an age of wearable computers, sensory augmentation, wireless devices, intelligent environments, thought-controlled prosthetics, and rapid-fire information search and retrieval, the line between the user and her tools grows thinner day by day. ""This double whammy of plastic brains and increasingly responsive and well-fitted tools creates an unprecedented opportunity for ever-closer kinds of human-machine merger,"" he writes, arguing that such a merger is entirely natural. A stunning new look at the human brain and the human self, Natural Born Cyborgs reveals how our technology is indeed inseparable from who we are and how we think."

[Link via The World Transhumanist Association]

Posted by nym at 02:21 PM | TrackBack

July 19, 2004

World Transhuman Con

I can only imagine that this is worth going to if you're in the Toronto area. If you're attending, I would please email me about moblogging and/or photoblogging the event.

"The World Transhumanist conference is coming to Toronto, Aug 5-8, with $12.50 public keynotes from Steve Mann and Stelarc."

"The theme of this year's conference is "Art and Life in the Posthuman Era," featuring such presenters as cyborg Steve Mann, Australian performance artist Stelarc, Extropy Institute founder Max More, leading biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey, and transhumanist philosopher Nick Bostrom, among many others." [boingboing]

Presentations include:

  • Atheism, Rationalism and Transhumanism: Are Transhumanism and Religious Faith Compatible?
  • Transhumanist Public Policy
  • Neurotheology and the Moral Duty of Self-improvement
  • Immortalism: Sublimated Religious Impulse?
  • Transhuman Art and Aesthetics
  • Body Politics

Also check out the World Transhumanist Association. They even have a blog, how is it that I've never heard of them? Do I live in a technological cave?

[Link via boingboing]

Posted by nym at 03:23 PM | TrackBack

July 17, 2004

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence

The sequel to the huge anime hit, Ghost in the Shell, is about to go on a limited release. Written and directed by Mamoru Oshii, Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence was the "first animé to ever screen in competition at the Cannes Film Festival" and may be the first cyborg story to be shown at Cannes. From the looks of the movie's website and their production photos, this is going to completely outdo the first Ghost in the Shell, as well as the GITS television series.

The original film "is set in the not-too-distant future, when an unnamed government uses lifelike cyborgs or 'enhanced' humans for undercover work" [Charles Solomon via amazon]. describes this sequel as "the story of a solitary cyborg who desperately wants to hold on to what's left of his humanity in a world where the worth of the human soul is fading almost into obscurity".

"Batou is a living cyborg. His whole body, even his arms and legs are entirely man-made. What only remains are traces of his brain and the memories of a woman. In an era when the boundary between humans and machines has become infinitely vague, Humans have forgotten that they are humans. This is the debauchery of the lonesome "ghost" of a man, who nevertheless seeks to retain humanity. Innocence... Is what life is." [imdb]

The sequel will be released in U.S. theaters on September 17, 2004 under the Go Fish Pictures banner, a division of DreamWorks Pictures. Anyone in the LA area is welcome to join us for the premiere, details will be announced in September.

Wallpapers can be downloaded from here here and here.

[Link (English GITS:Innocence Website) Link (Japanese Innocence Website). Production photos from]

Posted by nym at 12:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 16, 2004

NPR Steve Mann Interview

I'm an avid NPR listener, so I was totally pleased to find out that they have interviewed the ever evolving cyborg, Steve Mann. He talks about his body's "dashboard" which shows him his heartrate and other bodily functions. Also touches on sousveillance - "the people watching the powers that be". Available in both RealAudio & Windows Media Player 9.

"NPR's Andrea Seabrook talks to Dr. Steve Mann, a computer science engineer in Toronto, Canada, who may be the world's first "cyborg" -- part man, part machine. Mann has boosted his sensory abilities with special glasses and implanted sensors that enhance his perception of reality and give him constant biofeedback. He's the author of Cyborg: Digital Destiny and Human Possibility in the Age of the Wearable Computer and a pioneer in the field of cybernetics."

[Link via Photo from wearcam]]

Posted by nym at 08:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 14, 2004

Antenna Implants

Zarlink Semiconductor is working under the EU to develop antennas for implants. This is big news for anyone with a pacemaker since currently patients with problematic implants need to go under the knife in order to fix their medical gadgets. With an antenna on board, doctors could fix the devices wirelessly. The development works up to three meters and can "work on wireless bands devoted to medical implant communications in both the United States and Europe."

Hacking concerns aside, I see this as a major improvment and would be great for things like digital tattoos and cyborganic sensors. Also it brings a whole new meaning to "ping me".

[Link via we-make-money-not-art]

Posted by nym at 07:48 AM | TrackBack

July 13, 2004

Mexican Attny General Chipped

The Mexican Government seems to be embracing cyborg technology. Similar to pet id chips, the Attorney General of Mexico has been chipped. A microchip was inserted under the skin of one of his arms to identify him when accessing the governments new crime database. Since the country hasn't always been the most stable politically, the chip also is designed to trace him if he is ever abducted. Unfortunately, if he is ever abducted, his arms will be probably be cut off.

"Message From Sue

As Born Again children of God through Jesus Christ we are NOT to Accept the Mark of the Beast, no Matter how Good they make it sound. Those who Do Not accept the Mark of the Beast Cannot buy or Sell, but if you Accept it you are Eternally Lost & Doomed to the Lake of Fire with Satan." [jesusandsue]

Well I don't think think I agree with sue's zealous rant, I do think this is a frightening trend as "about 160 Mexican officials will carry the microchip" and "the chip can't be removed, but will be deactivated after Macedo's term as attorney general expires.", if it's okay to chip government employees, why wouldn't it be okay to chip criminals or citizens? Hey, I'm all for electronic implants, but I'm just a bit wary of governments doing it.

Cheers Attorney General Rafael Macedo, I look forward to joining you in the lake of fire.

[Link via boingboing]

Posted by nym at 06:10 PM | TrackBack

July 07, 2004

Kevin Warwick, 1st Cyborg?

Kevin Warwick seemed like a pretty cool guy when I first picked up a wired issue with his face on the cover, but I quickly realised that this bloke is just a media whore and a bunch of hot air, and now he's trying to claim that he's the "World's first cyborg".

"Critics have also accused Warwick of having creative thinking abilities that exceed his scientific abilities. These critics claim that he excels at his publicity stunts, while being regarded as somewhat of a joke in the cybernetics field due to his inability to produce meaningful data. (If you are going to go through the trouble of sticking a chip in yourself, researchers have said, why not do something more interesting than turning on lights automatically?)" [betterhumans]

It's amazing that this guy ignores significant criticism for his tatics and lack of real development. Even Wired, after doing a feature story on Warwick, wrote a followup article entitled Kevin Warwick: Cyborg or Media Doll? exposing the stupidity of reporters who follow the "1st Cyborg".

"The scientists I deal with generally groan when Kevin Warwick comes out with another stunt," said Inman Harvey, a senior research fellow at Sussex University's Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics. "He seems to be just a buffoon with a good line in hoodwinking the media into thinking that what he is doing is cutting-edge science."


[Warwick]'s been surprised by the criticism.

"None of them have said anything to me," he said. "I'm not going to get into some sideline, trivial argument. I've got research that I want to get on with and that's the important thing for me." [wired news]

Kevin, get a clue, and let the media interview the real cyborgs like Steve Mann.

[silly multi-light photo taken without permission from kevin's media whore website]

Posted by nym at 09:07 AM | TrackBack

June 28, 2004

The Witnessential Net

This photo shows Steve Mann wearing an EyeTap device and a screen displaying photos published by his EyeTap off his website. I think this rig could be a bit more aesthetic, but it certainly confronts people with the fact that they're being recorded. I found this photo while reading a paper written by Mann called "The Witnessential Net":

"The Witnessential Network for the protection of Human Rights workers, and others who may be subjected to violence, is achieved through a new kind of imaging and hierarchical architecture having special properties ideal for defense against unaccountability of attackers. Incidentalist video capture and self-demotion are introduced as new collegial forms of defense against unaccountability. Results of various experiments conducted worldwide over the past 20 years, on the inventing, designing, building, and using of wearable photographic apparatus having these special properties are also described. Other fundamental concepts with respect to a Personal Safety Device suitable for Human Rights workers are introduced."


Posted by nym at 10:17 PM | TrackBack

June 25, 2004

Contains Superior Synthetic Parts

parts.jpg"...longtime bOING bOING editor Gareth Branwyn underwent total hip replacement to help relieve the pain of severe degenerative arthritis. A quintessential happy mutant, Gar wrote a smart, funny, and poignant deconstruction of his reconstruction, accompanied by "get well" illustrations by designer Jim Leftwich."

I just love the get-well illustrations, but Gar's description of his cyborganic event is quite lovely too:

"During the initial visit with my orthopedic surgeon, he brought in an implant for me to play with. It was a gorgeous, awe-inspiring piece of modern machinery - almost Zen-like in its shining simplicity and austere precision. The cementless implant technology my doctor's clinic uses was co-developed by them and has been implanted into thousands of patients. The description of the implant reads like something from a William Gibson novel. I now sport a Duroloc(r) 100 acetabular titanium cup with sintered titanium beads for in-bone growth adhesion. I have a bleeding-edge Marathon(r) polyethylene liner with irradiated cross-linked polymers for tighter bonding and longer wear rates. My Prodigy(r) brand stem has a 28mm cobalt-chrome head and a cobalt-chrome femoral component with sintered cobalt-chrome beading for bone in-growth fixation. Where 2001's HAL 9000 was fond of telling people that he was made at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois, I can now boast that part of me was manufactured by DePuy Industries of Warsaw, Indiana."

[Link via boingboing]

Posted by nym at 02:26 PM | TrackBack

June 22, 2004

Cyborg Arms

t800arm.jpgWell research similar to the robotic arm tests with chimps implies that cyborg arms are not that far off, nor are brain activated keyboards. North Carolina's Duke University Medical Center gives no finite word if the human brain is capible of carrying on more complex things like controlling a myrad of cyborg-tenticals, but the following quotes are positive. I'll keep hoping.

"Patients are awake during the surgery, and their brain signals are recorded to ensure that the electrodes are placed in the right location.
The study also showed that more parts of the brain could be used for neural interfaces than the researchers had previously tested with monkeys.

Unlike the monkey study, in which electrodes were implanted into the brain's cortical structures, the current study involved analyzing brain signals from electrodes inserted deep into subcortical structures.

"This shows that one can extract information not only from cortical areas, but from subcortical ones, too," says Nicolelis. "This suggests that in the future, there will be more options for sampling neuronal information to control a prosthetic device." " [betterhumans]

The future? I prefer this to the cyborg girlfriend scenario. In any case, my children are sure to find new and creative ways to offend me through body modification.

[Link via]

Posted by nym at 01:33 AM | TrackBack

June 12, 2004

How to be a Gargoyle

snowcrash.gifFunny article about being a Gargoyle, and a few reviews of equipment that can help you become one. Short, but sweet.

"Now all we need is a full-power portable wireless computer system with extremely long battery life that can interface with any number of I/O devices.

Yup. That's all we need."

I too cannot wait to hack my first brainstem.

[Link via bloglines]

Posted by nym at 03:57 PM | TrackBack

June 10, 2004

Cyborg Cows

I never thought I'd be envious of the students of Bovine University, but apparently cows are getting some sweet gear to wear. Ranchers may soon be able to herd cows without getting out of bed now, and be able to set up virtual fences for your cattle. Like virtual dog fences, these use electric shocks and sounds to herd, but unlike dog fences, these use gps devices to locate cows and determine if the cow is where they should be. They also use 802.11b to communicate wirelessly to update the virtual fence maps.

"[the researchers think their system would be] attractive to farmers in Australia who must move cattle across ranches that range up to 22,000 square kilometres - roughly the size of Massachusetts.

Currently farmers herd the cattle on horseback, motorcycles or even in helicopters, and have to open and close gates frequently, all requiring many workers and considerable time."

Okay so maybe the cows will have wearable computers before I do, but at least I won't be wearing a shock collar.

<anselm> soon i will steal ipaqs from cows

[Link via engadget]

Posted by nym at 01:38 PM | TrackBack

May 27, 2004

Cyborg Sensations

Nice article on Mann's opening keynote address at digifest:

Over one or both of his eyes, Mann wears a rotating fleet of mini-cameras and lasers that constantly mediate the world around him. Through the computing power attached to his body he can filter out obnoxious billboards, see people behind him, surf the Web and even change the colour of his surroundings.

[Link via Steve Mann's]

Posted by nym at 04:22 PM | TrackBack

January 11, 2004

Steve Mann AP Article

Steve Barr posted on the wear-hard mailing list about a Steve Mann AP article. It's a pretty good read, I recommend checking it out.

Posted by nym at 12:25 PM | TrackBack