[hackerspaces] Augmenting Humanity @HeatSync (Phoenix, Arizona)

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Tue Jan 18 21:21:33 CET 2011

Augmenting Humanity @ HeatSync Labs

Let's start this year off with a bang! I just got back from HeatSync
where the local hackers are taking their eyes off of 3D printing, near-space
missions, tesla coils, and cylon Roombas and working on something a little
closer to home; themselves.

Okay, that requires a little explanation. HeatSync is a Phoenix area
hackerspace, a place for technically inclined people to come together, pool
resources, and work on interesting projects. Hackerspaces started in the
nerdvanas of Silicon Valley and Route 128, but the movement is spreading
across the country, and expanding from electronics to biotech. With the
democratization of technical equipment, almost anybody can be a scientist.
The hackerspace movement scales up the joy of just messing around with
blinkenlights to an adult level, and it might just serve as the incubutator
for the next wave of innovation.

Augmenting Humanity @HeatSync is a small group of hackers with an interest
in transhumanism, and with using their DIY skills to improve themselves.
They're well on their way. Jacob has an experimental magnetic
and wants more radical alterations. Harry is a recreational neuroscientist.
He already has a 14 channel EEG he freed from an Emotiv
and his next step is to make an Arduino board DC neural stimulator, as well
as his own version of ze goggles. With all this, he's well on his way to
doing some real interesting science. Jeremy is into quantified
and wants to use smartphones and wireless sensors to make data collection
trivial. Bryan is blin <http://www.accessibilityinsights.com/>d, and is
working with Apple to improve the accessibility of iDevices, while trying to
find hacks to make his life easier. The current project is a liquid level
sensor. As a father of three, Bryan spends a lot of time filling bottles,
and a device which beeps at the proper level would be good for everybody.

These guys are definitely aware of the social and political aspects of what
they're doing. They view themselves as citizen-scientists, in the vein of
the old Royal Society, and they want to both improve themselves, and
generate useful knowledge that the standard scientific research process
won't touch, either because it won't be funded, or violates medical ethics
(note: ethical medical research must treat a disease, so by definition,
enhancement is unethical. The current work around has been 'medicalization',
creating a disorder for people who want to be enhanced. Many people, myself
included, think this is a major problem.) They also are very forward about
getting their work out there, and connecting with like minded hackers across
the world. In the absence of formal journals, all of this is being organized
through social media, blogs, wikis, and video chat. We are lucky enough to
live in an era where information can be shared easily, and advanced
technology is cheap. In the next few months and years, I hope to spend a
fair amount of time with Augmented Humanity, develop some projects, and get
them out there. But for now, rest easy knowing that these people have the
future well in hand.

HeatSync Labs

Established in 2009, HeatSync Labs is Arizona's first hackerspace. HeatSync
is a coworking facility that makes workspace, tools, equipment, and other
resources available, while creating a community of collaboration and

Access to professional quality tools and equipment can often be out of reach
for the average student, entrepreneur, or garage tinkerer. HeatSync Labs
provides resources for people from a wide range of disciplines to learn,
share, and create.

- Bryan
1 512 203 0507
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