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Fact or Fiction?: 5 Sci-Fi Body Hacks That Are More Plausible Than You Think

Fact or Fiction?: 5 Sci-Fi Body Hacks That Are More Plausible Than You Think

    After yesterday’s post about Sci-Fi Brain Hacks, I thought it was only fair to showcase some equally interesting hacks that increase the performance of your body (especially since some of you went out of your way to say how much you enjoyed yesterday’s post when you were filling out your reader surveys.)

    We’ve all seen sci-fi flicks where people hack their brains, but what about stories where people hack their bodies? Here is a roundup of some of the craziest fictional technologies for body enhancement that may be more plausible than you think.

    1. Super Soldier Serum

    As seen in: Captain America (comic book and film)

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    In the Captain America comics (and in the upcoming film), Steve Rogers tries to enlist in the army during World War II so he can fight the Nazis. However, he is a scrawny weakling, and so they turn him down. After multiple attempts to enlist, Rogers is admitted to a secret army program where he is given a serum injection that bulks him up and makes him the perfect soldier: Captain America.

    So what are the odds of something like this serum being developed and administered to soldiers in real life?
    Well, DARPA started a $3 billion super soldier project in 2008. The project’s goal was to create a “Metabolically Dominant Soldier,” and specific projects include “drugs and genetic enhancements… for regeneration, faster healing, muscle strength enhancement up to current Olympic levels, cognitive enhancement…[and] fixing your cells so that you could live off your fat.”

    In addition, Professor Peter Wayand of Southern Methodist University is researching gene therapy techniques for enhancing human muscle fibers. It has been reported that his research aims to get humans running at speeds of 45 miles per hour and rocking a 5 second times for the 100 meter dash.

    2. Exo-suits

    As seen in: Iron Man (comic books and films)

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    Playboy billionaire Tony Stark creates the first exo-suit, capable of taking his body above and beyond its normal capacity. It makes him a super-soldier, but unlike Captain America, this body hack is done with metal, not medicine. Fans of the most recent Iron Man flick probably remember the scene where Stark testifies before the Senate that every other country in the world is 20 years away from mastering his technology. But how far away are we from a real life Iron Man suit?

    Tsukuba University’s HAL exo-suit is entering hospital trials next year. This full-body exo-suit can help the wearer lift heavy loads, and has both military applications and potential for aiding the disabled or senior citizens. And Berkeley Bionic’s HULC exo-suit can be used to carry a load of up to 200 pounds at a top speed of 10 miles per hour.

    3. Second Skin Body Suits

    As seen in: Tons of superhero comics and sci-fi flicks

    From superheroes to space babes, there are tons of examples of performance-enhancing body suits that hug the body, rather than encase it like a bulk exo-suit. Some of these suits have been compared to the suits used by characters in The Incredibles, and offer features like protecting skin from trauma and boosting speed.

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    These types of suits are already in development, and you’ve probably seen them in use at the Olympics. Spyder has developed “d3o, an engineered material with ‘intelligent’ molecules, reduces padding volume by 40 percent and has the ability to flow with a skier moving down the course or lock together and stiffen should the skier fall (to absorb the impact).”

    4. Organ Replacement

    As seen in: Repo Men (film)

    One of the most enduring sci-fi tropes is extending your life with replacement organs, either grown from stem cells or created from artificial materials, like the organs in the film Repo Men.

    In real life, experimental work is being done with growing new organs from stem cells over a “skeleton” of biological material that allows the organs to grow into the correct shape.

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    5. Bionics

    As seen in: Wait, you really have to ask?

    Bionics were at the center of two of the most iconic sci-fi TV shows of all time: The Six-Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman. And while these two old shows seem pretty dated today, they may have been spot on when it comes to predicting the use of bionics.

    According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the bionic eyes of Steve Austin or Geordi LaForge are more plausible than you might think.

    Second Sight Medical Products Inc. has developed “a pair of glasses to send images to a receiver implanted on the retina. From there, the image is transmitted to the brain through the optic nerve. The device is targeted to patients who have lost most of their vision as a result of retinal degeneration and whose nerve connections are still intact.”

    Would you ever consider augmenting your body with sci-fi tech? Tell us in the comments below!

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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on February 15, 2019

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

    Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

    Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

    Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

    So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

    Joe’s Goals

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      Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

      Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

      Daytum

        Daytum

        is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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        Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

        Excel or Numbers

          If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

          What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

          Evernote

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            I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

            Evernote is free with a premium version available.

            Access or Bento

              If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

              Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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              You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

              Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

              All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

              Conclusion

              I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

              What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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