2019-02-23 and 24 (Sa and Su) BDYHAX Body Hacking Con 2019 Austin, Texas

I went to Bodyhacking Con 2019 in Austin, Texas and it was my first year attending. Many of the biohackers I met at DefCon insisted that I go and I regret not taking their advice last year Spending time with such amazing people was worth the vacation time, and travel cost and attending the convention was an added bonus.

Attending the first talk of the event immediately sent my mind wandering down a path I had not considered before. It was a talk by Brian Bushway who lost his sight at the age of fourteen. He learned to use echolocation so he could walk, and even bicycle without aid from humans or machines. He still carries a cane and as a friend of his put it, his "long arm," which is to say that perception from a cane is not mediated through a stick, it means that the rod is literally part of that person.

Brian talked about the social ramifications of his vision and how he is disappointed that people expect nothing from him since he cannot see the same way as most of the population. Low expectations are harmful and cruel in some cases.

As someone who wants to get the most from my senses, to the point of expanding them mechanically, the idea of echolocation was exciting. The technique had always seemed like something only people without sight had the time or ability to learn. Brian hosted a workshop where he helped the attendees learn echolocation for themselves by experiencing a safe place without sight. Canes were provided and a prop I would not have expected plastic bowls. A simple popcorn bowl can dramatically change the sound coming to someone's ears. Holding a bowl over your head will dampen it, keeping it with the concave side facing you will sound different than the convex side. If we can already sense these subtle changes, why not teach ourselves echolocation?

Brian Bushway presenting at BDYHAX

Learning echolocation will be researched as a potential podcast episode on Two Cyborgs and a Microphone.

The single-most memorable event from the trip took place after the convention at the traditional after-con dinner. After such a ruckus, we like to kick our feet up and enjoy a low-key dinner where we can talk about what we learned, what we are jazzed try at home, and what we are currently working on. I was joined at the table by lepht anonym who uses the "it" pronoun and was the feature of a video I saw years ago that influenced me and many other grinders. lepht was a ball of delightful energy and curious insight into the tech and philosophy of grinding. I also spent the evening talking with folks about music, a subject on which I am deficient. All my discussions about music start with, "Everything I know about music, I learned from Wikipedia." I have to start the bar low. Perhaps that is a hint about an upcoming project.

Another upcoming blog involves an implant I received at BDYHAX.

Getting ready for something

First time here?

Completed projects from year 1
Completed projects from year 2
Completed projects from year 3
Completed projects from year 4
Completed projects from year 5

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