An international team of cyborgs, technologists and activists called Cyborg Nest just turned humans into a six-sense species.
Last week, co-founder Liviu Babitz and his crew of transhumanists — a post-human movement that uses technology to improve on our organic bodies — launched their first product. Called the North Sense, it's a Bluetooth-enabled, thumbnail-sized embeddable piece of tech that attaches to your body with a couple piercings and vibrates every time it faces magnetic north.
The sixth sense: Practically speaking, North Sense gives you the sense of navigation, a natural phenomenon in some animals thanks to their ability to detect a magnetic field. If this aspect were part of being human, it would mean hikers could keep themselves on course without a compass. Divers would know in what direction they were heading. New Yorkers would know where north from south from east from west as soon as they got out of the subway. People who practice Feng Shui could naturally detect when everything in their lives is aligned.
But calling it a compass for your body is missing the greater purpose, Babitz says.
"At the end of the day, it shows where north is," Babitz, an activist and former COO of a human rights NGO called Videre, told Mic in a Skype interview. "But when you have the notion where north is, different maps will start building in your life."
If North Sense works the way Cyborg Nest wants it to, it will be so much more than a compass attached to your chest. Think of specific smells and tastes — grandma's house, dad's cooking, the neighborhood pool — and how quickly they trigger memories. North Sense could mean you attach memories to the planet's magnetism — sort of like nostalgia based on where you're standing.
"Imagine kissing your girlfriend for the first time," Babitz said. "With North Sense, you'd remember the moment, but also the direction it happened."
North Sense is only the first sense to come from Cyborg Nest. Babitz described what sounds like an artificial sense factory, creating ways humans can adapt to their environments — and not just natural ones. While he couldn't go too deep into future projects, Babitz says they might deal with things like density and pollution — senses specific to an industrial world.
The North Sense is just the next stage in the rise of transhumanism. The gadget is currently on preorder for about $360, with 2,000 initial units to be released in September, according to Babitz. That might sound steep for a tiny piece of synthetic anatomy. But it's well worth it for anyone who wants to become more than human.