ThingTank Lab


This article was written on 11 Feb 2012, and is filled under Workshops.

Hacking the Body – part 2

This workshop is now scheduled for March 10, 2012

What is a prosthetic? We have seen artificial limbs for amputees and the Cheetah (R) foot for track and field athletes. You can have your fingertips replaced if you accidentally slice them off while making dinner. Cancer survivors can have their breasts rebuilt if they’ve lost them in treatment.

But what if you wanted a super-human digit? Or what if you want to shave off minutes from your current marathon time? Where is that fine line between restoring and enhancing?

In this all-day workshop we will look at how artists and scientists are currently hacking the body and we’ll discuss the socio-technical, cultural and ethical issues we will be facing as these these hacks become widely possible, prevalent and undetectable. We’ll use some simple prototyping materials, microcontrollers and electronics to build physical prototypes of our own prosthetic designs, working with fellow innovators to explore the complex issues and exciting possibilities.

If you already have an Arduino and breadboard bring it! ThingTank will provide sensors, actuators and prototyping materials to work with. ThingTank can also provide Arduinos for the workshop session but if you would like to purchase an Arduino to show off your masterpiece to family and friends please order it with your registration.

Irene Healey the founder and director of New Attitude™ Custom Made Breast Prostheses and Erika Biddle-Stavrakos, PhD candidate (York University), will present on various aspects of prosthetics.Our sincere thanks to Irene and Erika for their participating in this event, Liav Koren and Valenten K. for their technical help and to the workshop coordinators and hosts, Nina Czegledy and Adriana Ieraci.

Come ready to roll up your sleeves and have some fun!

  • 10:00 Registration
  • 10:30 Discussion: Body Hacking: What is a prosthetic? (Nina Czegledy, Artist and Curator – Discussant; Irene Healey, Artist and Entrepreneur, Founder, New Attitude – Panelist; Erika Biddle-Stavrakos – Panelist)
  • 12:00 Lunch
  • 1:00 Design and Prototyping: Smart Prosthetics (Adriana Ieraci, Founder, Conveyor Built – Guide; Valenten Kliaven, Artist – Designer)
  • 4:30 Discussion
  • 5:00 End

You may pay via Paypal or at the door.
Bring your own laptop! Note that we will supply arduinos and all necessary electronic components. If you wish to purchase a kit or to keep your material, you may do so for a fee of $50.

Erika Biddle currently lives in Toronto where she is working on her PhD in Communication & Culture at York University. She is a member of the Autonomedia editorial collective ( and an independent media artist.

Irene Healey is a Visual Artist and Certified Clinical Anaplastologist. Ms. Healey maintains an independent clinical practice working directly with people missing a part of their face or body due to disease, trauma or a congenital defect. Ms. Healey creates unique prosthetic devices that restore the appearance and function of an absent body part using proprietary techniques she has developed.

Event registration for Workshop 12: Extension of Man: Hacking the Body – Prosthetics powered by Eventbrite

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