Meet Zoe Quinn, The Girl Who's Turning Herself Into A Real-Life Cyborg
When you hear about body modification, you usually think about tattoos or piercings. Maybe even scarification or surgical restructuring, if you're really into it. Ironically enough, the one thing that doesn't generally come to mind is technology. Let me explain.
Zoe Quinn is a game development professional with a keen interest in body modification. She grew up in a Harley shop, and watched her father receive a tatoo when she was three. Her mother was as heavily tattooed as he was; her childhood has gifted her with a deep interest for the craft in all its forms. Somewhere along the line, she also developed a passion for video games, quickly finding her way into the world of game development. Her style is...well, it's kind of out there.
And that's awesome.
Take text-based adventure Depression Quest, for example - thus far one of the best explanations of the condition that I've ever encountered. If you've an hour or so, I'd highly recommend giving it a try. Fair warning, though - don't play it if you're depressed.
Given the unique nature of the games she creates, it's not all that surprising that she'd approach body modification in a similarly experimental fashion. And by that I mean...well, there's really no other way to say it: she's dead set on turning herself into a fully-functioning cyborg. Already she's implanted a small, silicone-coated magnet that allows her to feel magnetic fields and wires. This week, she took things a step further:
She installed an NTAG216 chip into her hand. A fully programmable computer chip is now part of her body. In other words, she's potentially given herself the ability to control her tech in a fashion fundamentally more intimate than anything we've ever seen before.
Of course, she's not quite certain what she's going to do with it yet.
"I'm not sure what the possibilities are," she wrote in her blog. "I can tell you that I'm planning to make a game that integrates t, and I can lock and unlock my phone with it super easy as well as transmit data to other compatible NFC devices like Android phones."
Currently, Quinn is using the chip in her hand to give out free steam codes for Deus Ex (a game which deals heavily with human modification and the relationship our bodies have to the technology we use. The developer behind the game is already aware of that, naturally - including Deus Ex creator Warren Spector, who described Quinn's implant as "dreamily cool."
Oh, and in case you weren't impressed enough already, she injected the chip herself, carrying out the entire procedure at home. That doesn't mean just anyone is capable of carrying out the procedure, though - Quinn's got years of experience with body modification, and conducted countless hours of research before performing the actual injection(in other words don't even think about trying this yourself).
"There were two majorly difficult parts - the initial break of the skin, and finally getting past the tapered part," explained Quinn. "You have to go deeper than just that, too, otherwise the chip will migrate toward the entry wound." Alright, so that's awesome and all, but...why'd she do it herself?
"I wanted the chip in me sooner rather than later, to start programming things in my body, to connect more closely with the tech I use to make my art," she continued. "I didn't want to just go to a body piercing studio I have no rapport with and sit there like it was just a routine procedure when these things mean so much more to me, as gross and weird as that may seem to most people. I wanted to do it myself, I wanted to take that leap and see what it was like, to DIY biohacking and reach for a more interesting future with my own hands."
According to Quinn, the implant - along with her silicone magnet - have helped her feel an unprecedented level of connectivity with her electronics.
"I feel like a really specific telekinetic. I can also feel the field put out by my laptop in some spots. It feels like when you press your hand against a really carbonated drink can and feel the bubbles, but that doesn't quite do it justice. Then again, it being somewhat indescribable is one of the reasons I decided to do it instead of just read about it. I can't wait to see what happens as it heals more."
"It's really goddamned cool to be able to *feel* the tools I make art with. Even in the minor ways it's already working, I feel more than ever that the computers I pour code and art into are extensions of myself, and that's pretty goddamned cool in my book, but I am hopelessly romantic about creativity and prone to fits of stereotypical artist BS so, grain of salt."
I can't wait to see what comes of her two implants, either - nor can I wait to see what she does next. Somehow, I get the feeling that she's not going to stop until she's transformed herself into some sort of cybernetic superhuman.
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