May 14, 2016 I Paul Seaburn

The Cyborg Who Can Feel All Earthquakes

Did you feel that?

No matter what time of the day or night you ask, Moon Ribas will probably answer “Yes.” That’s because Moon Ribas is a cyborg with an implant that allows her to feel every earthquake on Earth as it happens. The US Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) reports an average of 50 verifiable earthquakes around the world daily and countless more too weak to be recorded or located. How does Moon Ribas stand all that shaking?

Actually, she doesn’t stand … she dances. Moon Ribas is an avant-garde artist in the news this week and one of her popular performances involves dancing to the vibrations of the surgically-implanted earthquake sensor in one of her elbows (probably the one that’s shaking). The implant’s vibrations are triggered by an iPhone app (of course) that aggregates world seismic activity and their strength matches the intensity of the earthquake on the Richter scale.

The dancing is lovely. The obvious question is ... why?

I want to perceive movement in a deeper way. The planet moves, constantly shaking and moving everyday. I thought it would be amazing to translate the massive and natural movements of the planet in a different way.

So, Moon Ribas wanted to get all tingly throughout the day and get an occasional jolt big enough to make her body dance. Sounds like the perfect girlfriend, right? Her cyborg boyfriend agrees.

That’s right. Moon Ribas is the main vibrating squeeze of cyborg activist Neil Harbisson, who has an antenna permanently attached to his head that allows him to overcome his severe color-blindness by hearing colors. The antenna converts colors into sound frequencies that are sent to the occipital bone at the back of his skull and Harbisson matches the frequencies to a 360-color spectrum from infrareds to ultraviolets.

Moon Ribas and Neil Harbisson 570x321
Moon Ribas and Neil Harbisson

Back to Moon Ribas. She says the implant helps her feel connected to earthquake victims, like those of the 7.8 earthquake in Nepal in 2015 that shook her awake. It also has changed her perception of earthquakes.

I think it’s unfair that our perception of earthquakes are all bad. Earthquakes are part of the evolution of our planet. The bad thing is that humans haven’t adapted to this natural phenomenon.

Makes sense. So, what’s next for earthquake cyborg Moon Ribas? She wants to get more implants, possibly one in each toe so she can tell which continent the earthquake is shaking.

I wonder what that dance would look like?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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