The only notable thing about Rich Lee’s appearance is a slightly greying goatee. And if you didn’t know any better you’d think he’s like any other guy you’d see on a normal day. But Lee has managed to change his physiology in a very distinct way—but you wouldn’t know it unless someone told you.
Through Biohacking, which is the practice of surgically implanting a device to enhance the human body, Lee has embedded a tiny magnet into his tragus—that stiff little hump just in front of your ear canal. Why? The increased ability to hear, even to the point where Lee could potentially hear at much greater distances—greater than any normal human at least. Think of a bat-like sense.
By wearing a coil around his neck, audio signals are transmitted into a magnetic field, which cause the magnetic implant to vibrate and produce sound. In addition to never needing headphones ever again, Lee is planning to hook his little wireless system up to things such as ultrasonic rangefinders, thermometers and Geiger counters. Basically, Lee will be able to “hear” how hot something is without touching it.
Imagine the possibilities in espionage, or even with something as simple as feeding lines to an actor. Of course, I can only imagine how airport security would react when you’d have to explain why the detectors are throwing up red flags. The enhancement only works in conjunction with the coil, otherwise Lee’s hearing is just like yours or mine. “I plan to hook it up to a directional mic of some sort (possibly disguised as a shirt button or something) so I can hear conversations across a room,” Lee said. Lovely.