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How Technology Is Changing the Way We Look



Pretty much everyone would like to change something about the way that they look. Maybe they wish that they were thinner. Or taller. Or had red hair instead of brown. The entire cosmetic industry – including things like tattoos and piercings – is based on wanting to look different, and plastic surgery upped the ante by helping people to surgically modify their bodies to help them reach some kind of norm or ideal.

But today technology has reached the point where people can safely (more or less) make extreme modifications to their bodies to create outrageous, cool, frightening, and sometimes plain disgusting effects. A few of these are temporary, but many will last forever – or at least until the next surgery. Read on for body modifications that many of us probably never even knew existed.

Eyeball tattooing. This one is first because it’s actually been around for almost 2,000 years, but until recently it was only used to correct defects found in damaged eyes. Now, of course, people into body modding use eyeball tattoos to change the whites of their eyes forever. It works just like regular tattooing, except that this time the needle is being used on your open eyeball.

Bagel Head injections. One of the stranger mods becoming popular in Japan is “bagel heading.” People inject saline into their foreheads, then use their thumbs to press down on the center of the swollen area. This creates what looks like a bagel or doughnut shape on their forehead until the saline is absorbed by their bodies – usually in a day at most.

Subdermal implants. Also known as 3-D art implants, people use surgery to have objects placed under their skin and make it look different on the surface. These objects can be pretty much anything – from clear shapes like stars or horseshoes to beads that form a line or particular design – and can be completed under the surface or poking through, as in the case of people who give themselves horns. It’s also possible to increase the size of the implants over time with multiple surgeries so that the skin has time to heal being pushed out further.

Elven ears. Or Spock ears, depending on your nerdy preference. Yes, people are actually having their ears surgically spiked by getting flesh and cartilage carved out and stitched together until it heals into a perfect pop cultural point of fantasy/sci-fi goodness. Maybe you can get a job as a Vulcan on one of the new Star Trek movies.

Blacklight tattoos. Maybe you’re just not that into having body art all the time. Or perhaps you’re really into the rave scene. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to deny that blacklight tattoos have an impact because it’s one thing to meet someone who’s completely tatted up, and quite another to watch as seemingly normal skin suddenly comes alive with some sort of design. The only real question is how long the glow lasts and if there’s a way to get it refreshed.

There are lots of other body mods out there designed to change the way we look, but technology is also changing what our bodies can do with things like…

Magnetization. Yes, you can now have magnets implanted under your skin and never lose another screw. Technically these are fairly similar to subdermal implants, but seeing them on the surface isn’t the point. After they are inserted into your fingertips, you can not only pick up small metallic objects, but detect security systems, feel it when your hard drive spins up, and even sense live wires. The downside? Unfortunately, the effect of the magnets tends to degrade over time and stop working.

RFID chips. The story about how Obama wanted to microchip all of us under the new healthcare system has been debunked, but would it really have been so bad? People who have had themselves chipped are able to do simple but cool things like open their garage or turn on electronics just using the chip.

Kind of makes you wonder what your kids will be doing in 20 years, doesn’t it?