Tired of Using Headphones? Plug in Your Bone Transmitted Speakers
4G technology (or its successor) could stream audio directly to an implant, transmitting audio using the bones in your skull. Headphones that conduct audio via the bones around your ear already exist, but this technology would make the next step, connecting you to your music at all times. The bones of your skull make for an amazing acoustic device, with a tiny implant (or an implant at each ear) ensuring that you never need to worry about misplacing your headphones ever again.
Implanted Storage Devices
Finish computer programmer Jerry Jalava lost part of a finger in a motorcycle accident. Instead of opting for reconstruction, he created a silicon USB attachment and added it to the truncated finger. While this storage method is quite extreme, we could see some sort of personal storage devices implanted within our bodies in the coming decade.
Implanted storage devices would provide a modicum of safety in international travel by maintaining information about allergies and emergency contacts, as well as allowing for easy access to files through a drag-and-drop connect with a local computer. Some might even pair this with implanted bone-conducting speakers to keep their entire music library on them at all times.
A Useful Heads Up Display
Our future overlords at Google are already working on a pair of eyeglasses that will project a heads up display (known as a HUD to you video game fans out there) over your viewing environment. Google’s Project Glass will likely take a while for the bugs to be worked out and for societal acceptance to be gained, but we will likely face a wide-scale adoption of this technology in the near future.
A heads up display provides data laid out in a manner similar to how player information is displayed in first-person shooters, except that commercial ones will project environmental information about locations, temperature, advertising, and our email over the world in front of us.
Tissue-integrated HUD’s will likely not be present on a wide-scale basis before 2025, due to surgical issues with the eye sockets and tissue rejection. A polished, wearable form, however, could very well cover every persons eyes within 13 years. If you’d like to try an early version of this system out, download the app Google Goggles for your Android device.
Gain a Magnetic “Sixth” Sense
Implanted magnets are already used experimentally by piercing enthusiasts and body modification artists like Steve Haworth. Magnets implanted along the fingertips send a unique feeling to individuals in the presence of some electronic devices and magnetic field. The implants are inexpensive (around $200) and provide for additional sensory perception without much difficulty.
Mainstream Steroid Use for Improved Bodies and Lifestyles
(Most) steroid use is illegal in the United States and banned in professional sports, with the recent problems in baseball and football bringing use of these chemicals to the forefront. Steroids do play a positive role in healing, and in a closely monitored environment, could improve muscle mass and our lifestyles.
It is quite possible we could see legalized, prescribed use of anabolic steroids for individuals as long as use is closely monitored by physicians. Such a regiment would be an elective process, akin to receiving breast implants or a facelift. Insurance would likely not cover this use, but this is no doubt a possibility that would interest a large segment of the population.
Enhanced Vision via Surgery
A few athletes already take advantage of this visual enhancement. Tiger Woods over-corrected his eyesight to 20/10 vision instead of nominal 20/20 vision via Lasik surgery. This correction to 20/10 vision allows Woods to see details at 20 feet that a normal person would need to be 10 feet away from to discern.
Over-correction surgery could necessitate multiple surgeries to maintain heightened vision abilities, and a number of foreseen problems could arise due to a relatively small sample size of individuals, who have purposely had their vision surgically over-corrected. In a decade, it is possible that Lasik surgery could provide humans with 20/2 vision, the approximate visual acuity of eagles and other birds of prey.
Never Lose Your Keys
Always losing your keys? Get an RFID chip implanted in your hand. This type of lock and key system would be easier to troubleshoot than fingerprint access systems and operate off of existing RFID swipe card technology. Your house, car, and other long-term access devices would be shoe-ins for this type of technology. However, you might not want an RFID chip implanted into your hand for the apartment you rent or for door access at a job you don’t want to keep long-term, as minor surgery might be required before moving or changing jobs.
A Solution for Blindness
Colorblind artist and cyborg activist Neil Harbisson created a rudimentary system that transfers colors captured by a camera within the viewing range to vibrations he can hear. While this may not be the best system for restoring sight, it is a step in the right direction for providing blind individuals with three-dimensional awareness of their surroundings.
Giving a Voice to Those Who Cannot Speak
Another device that would eliminate human restrictions, speech implants could be put in place that turn routine thought into words—words that are then transmitted by a wearable speaker. Such an advancement would be a boon for mute individuals or for those who recently experienced a stroke. Researchers at MIT, Harvard, and Oxford University are already working on successful prototypes of this technology—technology capable of recognizing a handful of words.
Image Source: Windell Oskay via Flickr