Gadgets

Body-Pierced Gadget Turns You Into a Human Compass

The North Sense is a new sensory organ meant to enhance the everyday human experience.

<p>Cyborg Nest</p>

Liviu Babitz is not content waiting around for evolution to improve upon his human form. Like other transhumanists, Babitz believes that science and technology can take a person's intelligence, physical performance and psychological state to the next level, all in less than the span of a single lifetime.

To that end, he helped develop North Sense, a small silicone gadget that detects magnetic north. This is not a GPS device, nor a tracker. It's not even connected to the Internet nor any other network. This is a new sensory organ designed to be pierced to a person's body and vibrate each time the wearer faces magnetic north.

The idea is that over time, the brain will assimilate the vibration into the everyday human experience, enhancing it. That will open a person up to a world that exists beyond his or her own current capabilities.

"There's a whole other world out there full of things we have no idea about – different types of radiation, sounds and colors," Babitz, the CEO and co-founder of Cyborg Nest, the company that created North Sense, told New Atlas. "Even if it's in a primitive way, being able to sense and connect to something that I would otherwise have zero clue about is something that fascinates me on a daily basis."

Imagine being able to see ultraviolet light like a cat? Or echolocate like a dolphin? Smell like a beagle? In this case, humans will have the opportunity to sense Earth's magnetic field like a homing pigeon.

Three weeks ago, Babitz and co-founder Scott Cohen each had a North Sense device pierced to the upper part of his chest, just below the collarbone, and has been testing it ever since.

Additional Cyborg Nest cofounders Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas both have different devices that augment their natural senses. Harbisson, who was born colorblind, had an antenna implanted into the bone of his skull that converts color into sound. He started with a few colors, learning to distinguish red from blue from yellow and then, over time, added shades to expand the rainbow and the tones. It took him three years, but he now can hear all 360 degrees of the color wheel, as well as infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths.

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Moon Ribas has a sensor implanted beneath the skin of her elbow that vibrates each time an earthquake rattles anywhere part of the world.

Steve Haworth, also listed as a co-founder, told New Atlas that it takes the brain about six months deal with the new information, make sense of it and fit it into the background of daily life.

"This is not a physical change – this is a mind change," the creators write on their website. "Processes take time, changing from person to person. Gradually, North Sense will become part of your existence. Your brain will learn how to filter the information, exactly as it's filtering distractions right now as you're reading this sentence."

Those who want to travel with their new sensory organ need not worry about alarming security agents. The device is not made from materials that cannot be taken on lights and it came be easily removed from the anchoring system and put through a security scanner. For anyone transhumanist-curious, the company is taking pre-orders until the end of January.

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