Hannes Sjoblad, Epi­cen­ter Stock­holm

Hannes Sjoblad, Chief Dis­rup­tion O'cer, Epi­cen­ter Stock­holm

HWM (Singapore) - - Contents - By Alvin Soon

You have an im­plant in your hand. Tell me about the day you de­cided to get it.

I was look­ing at Kick­starter and I saw this new type of im­plant which was NFC en­abled. This was in­ter­est­ing be­cause NFC is a new kind of stan­dard which is used in all kinds of de­vices.

I thought this should be in­ter­est­ing to test, so I bought ten kits from them be­cause I wanted to share them with my friends. The rea­son for do­ing this is cu­rios­ity. I think it’s very in­ter­est­ing to ex­plore im­plant tech­nol­ogy and what it can do.

What’s your fa­vorite thing about hav­ing this im­plant?

So the idea is that you use the im­plant in­stead of key badges, swipe cards, mag­netic cards. And it turns out that there are many places where we use this kind of gad­gets that we can re­place with the chip im­plant. So for me, the main benet is that I no longer have to carry the keys and cards in my pock­ets all the time be­cause I have the key with me in my hand.

So is there a com­mon mis­con­cep­tion about im­plants?

I think a lot of peo­ple are wor­ried that the chip im­plant can be used for track­ing them. I can tell you it’s not a prob­lem be­cause the chips we have are pas­sive, which means that they can­not send sig­nals by them­selves.

“The di&er­ence be­tween bio­hack­ers and tra­di­tional hack­ers is that we don’t only work with soft­ware and hard­ware, we also work with bi­o­log­i­cal sys­tems.” Hannes Sjoblad

If I get lost in the for­est, you can­not see where I am. The chips have to be within one cen­time­ter to talk to each other.

You call your­selves ‘bio­hack­ers.’ How would you ex­plain what bio­hack­ing is?

Bio­hack­ing means ex­per­i­ment­ing. Not hack­ing in the sense that you break into a sys­tem and steal money or data. Hack­ing, in the orig­i­nal mean­ing, of ex­per­i­ment­ing. The dif­fer­ence be­tween bio­hack­ers and tra­di­tional hack­ers is that we don’t only work with soft­ware and hard­ware, we also work with bi­o­log­i­cal sys­tems. We can hack bac­te­ria, plants, an­i­mals, and hu­mans.

You sound very op­ti­mistic about bio­hack­ing. But, you know, in the movies this is the mo­ment when zom­bies start ap­pear­ing.

So, my mes­sage is: do not trust Hol­ly­wood (laughs). Be­cause in the movies you need some­thing that’s scary. This makes for pow­er­ful sto­ries. If you look in the movies, you have Ter­mi­na­tor, or Iron Man, or Robo­cop. You have wor­ry­ing im­ages. But if you look in the real world, who are the cy­borgs? It’s the old lady who has a hear­ing aid. It’s the old gen­tle­man who has a pace­maker. So I don’t think we should fear the cy­borgs.

If we project 10 years ahead, where do you see this bio­hack­ing fu­ture head­ing?

I see many ways that bio­hack­ing can help im­prove the world, but I’ll give you ex­am­ples for chip im­plants. We are work­ing on chip im­plants that can mon­i­tor health and what is hap­pen­ing in­side our bod­ies. And this will mean we can see, for ex­am­ple, if you have in­creas­ing choles­terol. And you would be able to see that very early be­fore you ac­tu­ally de­velop prob­lems.

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