A festival to celebrate the cyborgs among us

Welcome to the home of Borgfest, a festival and expo to celebrate and support people interested in human augmentation, enhancement, body modification, and wearable technology. Events scheduled year-round.

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  • WORK


  • PLAY
















  • SCI-FI


What is a cyborg?

What is a cyborg?

Many of us are already cyborgs. Celebrate and support those with prosthetics, orthotics, implants, transplants, augmentations, performance enhancements, body mod, quantified selves, wearable tech, and more!
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Borgfest and EFF-Austin to collaborate on the world's first cyborg pride parade and cyborg rights rally on March 11, 2018.
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Borgfest Austin 2018

Borgfest Austin 2018

Events occur year-round culminating in Borgtown, a restricted-entry district in Austin, Texas. Visitors to Borgtown will need authorization codes to enter the district during the festival.
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Panel Discussion: How technology is evolving the healthcare industry

[New!  The moderation guide with preparation questions for the panelists has been posted.  Join the Borgfest Meet Up group to discuss and ask follow up questions]

Event Details

The proliferation of new technologies across the health and wellness space promises to revolutionize our healthcare experiences. We’ve already seen widespread adoption of tracking apps and wearables by millions of people. But what is the reality of these technologies? What is the next evolution? And what is the real impact that current and future technologies will have on healthcare?

Our carefully selected, expert panelists will provide a view into the current state and future direction of healthcare technology. Join projekt202 at the The Livestrong Foundation for a robust and lively panel discussion about how health technology can impact behavior change and improve health outcomes, how wearables will evolve to provide more value, and how technology will become further embedded with the human body to augment our abilities.

Drinks and appetizers will be provided.

6:00-6:30pm Meet & Greet
6:30-6:45pm Introduction from Peter Eckert, Co-Founder and CEO of projekt202
6:45-8:00pm Panel Discussion & Q/A led by Kijana Knight-Torres, Principal Experience Researcher for projekt202
8:00-8:30pm Networking

About our Panelists:

Kyle Samani, CoFounder and CEO, Pristine
Pristine powers smart glasses in clinical use for greater efficiency, increased quality, and hands-free telemedicine. Prior to starting Pristine, Kyle worked at VersaSuite, a company that builds electronic medical records (EMRs) for hospitals. He spent three years there: one year in engineering, one year in sales, and one year in product management. At VersaSuite, he learned how to build, sell, and deploy enterprise software into complex work environments. He started Pristine immediately after the general availability of Google Glass in May 2013. At Pristine, Kyle is responsible for fund raising, setting the vision and strategy, recruiting executives, and sales.

Robin Krieglstein, Behavior Design Consultant
Robin is a member of the Stanford Behavior Design Lab with Dr. BJ Fogg. He has specialized in applying behavioral psychology to technology for over 25 years as a designer, developer, founder, and consultant. Robin founded the Design Group at LeapFrog Toys; founded the first gamified, goal-achievement social network; has consulted for over a dozen Fortune 500s; and did health behavior design at Badgeville for brands like Kaiser, Oracle, Jillian Michaels and Bob Greene. He holds a BA in Computer Science with a focus on Educational Software Design from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

Richard MacKinnon, Founder and Executive Director, BorgFest Human Augmentation Expo.
Rich is creating the world’s first festival for cyborgs—to celebrate and support those among us whose bodies and identities have changed—largely from trauma, degeneration, or disease, but also electively. Rich wants to shape the culture induced by the fantastic changes brought about through the rapid technological achievements in health and life sciences. When we provide a prosthetic, for instance, we are no longer replacing lost capability. We are catalyzing a remade identity which may be more empowered than it was before. The story is moving beyond disability to bionic legs, but he believes we need to remain focused on our ability to dance.

Pär Axelsson, Director of UX Research, FloSports
Pär is the Director of User Experience Research at FloSports, Inc here in Austin, TX. He has over 10 years experience in UX and Human Factors research, across a variety of products and services, in different domains. In early 2014 he was diagnosed with Latent autoimmune diabetes of adults (LADA), which is a rare form of Type 1 diabetes. After a few months of insulin treatment using regular injections and finger sticks several times a day, he has now moved to using an Omnipod Insulin pump and a Dexcome Continuos Glucose Monitor, which both are attached to his body. This allows him to administer insulin and monitor blood glucose wirelessly via a PDM, which has eliminated the need for injections, significantly reduced the number of daily finger sticks, and thus made it easier for him to manage his condition. The only downside is that each device requires a separate handheld device and, consequently, his pockets are always very full.

Hosted by:

The LIVESTRONG Foundation
The LIVESTRONG Foundation fights to improve the lives of people affected by cancer now. For 18 years, the Foundation has provided a voice of the cancer survivor and directly served more than 2.5 million people. LIVESTRONG answer survivors’ questions, tells their stories, and helps them live their lives through direct service, advocacy and inventive partnership models. In 2014, the Foundation launched its boldest enterprise yet –the LIVESTRONG Cancer Institutes at the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. The Institutes will be a pioneering approach to patient-centered cancer care designed by survivors to deliver the best teaching practices and the greatest collaborative research to serve the cancer community.

For help with a cancer diagnosis for you or a loved one, please visitLIVESTRONG.org/WeCanHelp. For other information about our programs and services, visit LIVESTRONG.org.

Borgfest gets a nice mention in the Irish Times!

Borgfest gets a nice mention in the Irish Times!

“It took many identity crises to accept that I was part- cyborg.” — Louise Bruton, and her amazing, empowering prosthetic leg, Priscilla.

”I brought Priscilla on a road trip across the US last month, and she was invited to an event in Austin, Texas, by Richard MacKinnon, the co-creator of BorgFest. BorgFest celebrates human augmentation, enhancement, body modification and wearable technology. The use of the word cyborg is a little bit daunting, but when you consider that a prosthesis can open up a whole new world of possibilities, it feels less like a disability and becomes more empowering.”


Read the article on our Facebook page

Read the original invitation to meet Louise


Borgfest Cyborg Halloween Costume Party

October 31, 2014


Borgfest, Nerd Nite, and Dorkbot


Occult Futurism Haunted House Halloween Party

Android vampires and robot werewolves and bionic zombies, oh my!

Featuring the Sciborg Robopimps, tarot card readings, parlor tricks, and the Hyde Park Gorilla

No street clothes, please.  Come costumed or come naked.  Dress code enforced

By invitation only.

Get your ticket at Eventbrite.  Use promo code “ectoplasm”

Austin Meet Up: Meet Louise Bruton aka “Legless in Dublin”

September 26, 2014


Join us for a Happy Hour tomorrow to welcome Louise Bruton.

A few days ago, I met Louise along with Sophie Oliveira de Barata of the Alternative Limb Project at TEDMED in San Francisco.  Louise is visiting America and driving across the country, making a stop in Austin.

Louise has an amazing customized prosthetic leg covering that was hand-crafted by Sophie.  Here’s a picture that doesn’t do it justice:

LouiseBrutonSophie’s work at the Alternative Limb Project goes a long ways towards body-identity re-integration and improving the acceptance of prosthetics by amputees.  This is done by working in close consultation with clients to design a customized look for prosthetics that more closely matches their sense of identity and aesthetics.  Here’s a link to the Alternative Limb Project:




Clearly the work is amazing and this is your chance to meet Louise and change the way you think of prosthetic limbs.

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Austin Meet Up: How wearable tech saved (or is saving) my life

[Register to attend]

Join us September 24 for our second Wearable Wednesday Austin!

artificial kidney

How Wearable Tech Saved (or is Saving) My Life

6-10pm, Wednesday Sept 24 at AT&T 
9505 Research Blvd, Austin, Texas 78759
Free Admission, Registration Required
Learn and network with innovators and visionaries

“The beat goes on: The making of pacemakers.”
John Porterfield, Chief Scientific Officer of Admittance Technologies. 

 “When measuring gets in the way of therapy: What diabetics can teach us about UX design.”
Jesse Kinbarovsky, Patient-Inventor at Glucocue.

“Living on the edge: A man with 4 kidneys and 30 years of life extension from the bleeding edge of modern technology.”
Lennie Myers, transplant recipient.


The emergence of the Wearable Technology industry has come fast and far in a short period of time. Innovative and revolutionary ideas have almost instantaneously spawned from concept to reality, from things of dreams and movies into tangible products. Once only known in the world of the science fiction, today’s consumers and patients have access to incredible breakthroughs.  Join us and we’ll keep you abreast of what’s new, what’s relevant, and how to think about it in provocative and creative ways.

At our second Wearable Wednesday Austin, we will gather to have a special conversation about wearable technology that matters.  When it comes to the wearable world, it seems everyone is looking for distinctive functionality and failing that, there is a plethora of look-alike products pre-occupied with fashion over form.

bionic man

Last year, scientists with the Bionic Man project, gathered prosthetic limbs and artificial organs from around the world and assembled them together in a single structure or artificial man.  They claim that today, we are able to rebuild more than 50% of the human body.  Yet, despite these startling advances, it’s clear that the Frankensteinian concept of human organ transplantation often remains the only viable solution for organ replacement.

human organ cooler

We’re going to focus on the crossroads of wearable medical devices that assist organ function and full-on organ transplantation and we’re going to do it at the Austin location of AT&T Labs.  AT&T Labs traces its history back to the world-famous Bell Labs which played a distinguished role in many of the most significant inventions of the modern age.  We’re thrilled that AT&T has partnered with us to discuss the dawning age of cyborg technology.

Come take part in an important discussion that will reshape how most of us think of wearable technology–transplants, implants, hardware, software, and wetware.  It’s going to be a fantastic evening!

[Register to attend]


6:00PM – Networking and Demos (Pizza and refreshments generously provided by AT&T)

6:45PM – Introduction by Rich MacKinnon, Wearable World Ambassador, and co-founder and executive director of Borgfest Cyborg Festival and Expo on Human Augmentation, Performance Enchancement, Body Modification, and Wearable Tech.

6:50PM – Speakers, Presentations, and Q&A.


John Porterfield, Chief Scientific Officer, Admittance Technologies.  “The beat goes on: The making of pacemakers.”

Jesse Kinbarovsky, Patient-Inventor, Glucocue. “When measuring gets in the way of therapy:  What diabetics can teach us about UX design.”

Lennie Myerstransplant recipient. “Living on the edge:  A man with 4 kidneys and 30 years of life extension from the bleeding edge of modern technology.”

8:35PM – Wrap Up, Feedback, and Announcements

8:50PM – After-Party

10:00PM – Good night!

[Register to attend]

Speaker Bios:

John Porterfield, Chief Scientific Officer, Admittance Technologies.

John is working toward the goal of commercializing his PhD research for use in humans, which involves measuring blood volume in real time using commercially available pacemaker leads and devices.  His presentation will cover the origins of pacemakers, the shortcomings of current devices, and will explore how they can/should be improved along with reasons why they haven’t yet.

Jesse Kinbarovsky, Patient-Inventor, Glucocue

As a patient and inventor, Jesse brings new insight into design and function.The chronically ill have been using invasive, embedded, and simple technologies and methods for more than a generation to check and record physiological data dozens of times each day for several generations. What are the psychological and physical effects of such extreme quantification? How do these efforts impact quantifiers’ families and loved-ones? What can diabetics teach us about the longevity of self-quantification efforts, and how might such experience inform the technology we produce and the interfaces we design?

Lennie Myers, transplant recipient

Lennie considers himself one of the luckiest people in the world because he was fortunate enough to be born and live in a time where leading edge technology has kept him alive for 30 additional years. Each of us has an opportunity to celebrate our births each year. Lennie celebrates 5 very specific birthdays coinciding with modern technology that has either been life-sustained or given him new life.

Rich MacKinnon, Executive Director, BorgFest Human Augmentation Expo

Rich is the Wearable World Ambassador to Austin.  His upcoming cultural and entertainment festival, BorgFest, is cyborg festival and expo on human augmentation, performance enhancement, body modification, and wearable technologies.  There are Borgfest mini-events and meet ups scheduled throughout the year (this is one!) and the cyborg community gathers daily online via the website, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

[Register to attend]

WWED logoBorgfest logo


AT&T Labs logo

Austin Health Tech

Become a Borgfest sponsor or partner.  Contact rich@borgfest.com to discuss creative and custom opportunities.

[Register to attend]

About our Sponsors

BorgFest Cyborg Festival and Human Augmentation Expo

Celebrate and support those with prosthetics, orthotics, implants, transplants, augmentations, performance enhancements, body mod, quantified self, wearable tech, and more!

Borg Fest is a celebration for an intentional community of people interested in human augmentation and enhancement.  Many of the participants will themselves have been augmented as a result of accident, injury, war, congenital defect, illness, or disease.  Others may have been augmented for personal, professional, artistic, stylistic, philosophical, political, or religious reasons.  Some of the participants are industry and academic leaders in the fields that provide products and services to this community.  Amidst the celebration, key conversations will occur, critical contacts made, relationships formed, ideas crystalized, companies started, concepts demonstrated, and people helped.

Austin Health Tech: Healthcare, Technology, and Health 2.0.

Austin Health Tech is an organization with one simple aim: To bring the health, technology, and business communities of central Texas together to make healthcare better.

AT&T Labs

Starting with the invention of the telephone, AT&T Labs have created some of the world’s major innovations across a broad spectrum of technology. These innovations range from IP network management and optical technology to automatic speech recognition and next-generation text-to-speech products. With Labs locations across the country and hundreds of the world’s best researchers, technologists and engineers, AT&T is more equipped than ever to handle the drive towards innovation.

About Wearable Wednesdays

Wearable Wednesday events are an open community forum focused on the blending of technology, art and humanity in the Wearable Technology and Internet of Things ecosystem.  Our goals is to provide a platform for industry innovators, entrepreneurs, builders and investors to connect with like-minded, motivated people with the knowledge, vision, and partnerships that will move the Internet of Wearable Things forward.  Group Meetups will include both technicaland market-oriented sessions.  Wearable Wednesdays are held globally across the world’s top tech centers, including San Francisco, New York, Dallas, and London, and we continue to launch new locations periodically.  Meet the most innovative wearable tech entrepreneurs in your community, demo products, share ideas and discuss trends in both local and global markets.

Borgfest sponsoring Cyborg Poetry contest

In partnership with the Austin Poetry Society, we’re sponsoring a cyborg poetry contest that celebrates and supports those with prosthetics, orthotics, implants, transplants, augmentations, performance enhancements, body mod, quantified selves, or wearable tech.

We’d like dedication suggestions for a person, persons, or organization.


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Borgfest Backyard Cyborg Cinema

Join fellow cyborgs in Borgfest founder Rich MacKinnon‘s backyard for cyborg chit-chat under the trees with beer, camp chairs, Bladerunner noodles (you’ll have to come to find out), and one or two cinematic cyborg pleasers. We may even be joined by some out-of-town cyborg dignitaries!

Some beer and soda will be provided, but BYOB to ensure supply and preference. We will have some plastic chairs, but if you have a comfy camp chair, you’ll be happy you brought it! If you wisely decide to partake in Chef MacKinnon’s Bladerunner noodles, please bring a cash donationDetails and RSVP

A memo from the Cyborg HR Dept

There have been several articles on the topic of machines (or even augmented humans) replacing humans in the workplace, but this video does the best job so far. Horses became unemployable through no fault of their own. It’s nonsense to say that automation technology enabled horses to enjoy better jobs, yet we seem to believe this will be the case for people. The horse population continues to decline with their waning utility. Horses were replaced by the car, and ironically, so will humans. Watch Video

Borgfest 2015 Sponsorship Program Begins

Borgfest is actively seeking enthusiastic partners and sponsors for our meet ups and Oct 2015 festival.  Provide us with an early commitment now and we’ll reward you with a discount for helping us bootstrap and get a jump on the year!  Learn more

Recap: Wearable Tech for Safer Streets

10464407_771164052924486_3785596715342952143_nWhat a fantastic event!  Thank you to all who participated, a special thanks to our sponsors and partners Wearable World, Golab, and Austin Health Tech, and a big thumbs up to our presenters: Sara LeVine from ATX Safer Streets, Charlie Harper III from North Austin Social Bicycling, and Jackson Egan from Chaotic Moon Studios.

2The evening began with some mingling and cocktails.  On a large flat screen TV we had a slideshow loop of some images that we felt captured the spirit of BorgFest.  You can see the images here on in our Facebook album.



Once we all got settled into our Tex-Mex dinners, Rich MacKinnon, BorgFest co-founder, executive director and Wearable World Ambassador to Austin launched the first Borgfest meet up and the inaugural Wearable Wednesday Austin event!


sarahrogerSara LeVine challenged participants to develop ways for wearable tech to make the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists.  In fact, earlier in the day, she had been involved in a car accident.  It can happen at any time to anyone.  Even when you are on your way to speak about street safety.  In a time, when mobile tech = distracted driving, it seems counter-intuitive that wearable tech can improve safety.  The challenge is developing the appropriate UI.

Charlie Harper said “It was great to see so many people interested in wearable technology.”  He intuitively understood the connection between social cycling, wearable tech, and cyborgs.    In fact, his bike is called The Borg!  What a coincidence.  Apparently, we’re not the only crazy ones, but then again, we see cyborgs everywhere.  According to Charlie, Borg-like collectives will become more pronounced as more cyclists wear cameras and communication devices to facilitate their journey and ensure their safety.   See for yourself–his video of cyclists traveling together was mesmerizing.  At times during the video, the colored lights on the front of the bikes created an effect resembling the laser eyepiece worn by the Borg.  And Charlie’s GoPro-mounted helmet was a big hit with the meet up attendees.

Jackson Egan thought the event was just awesome and he was awesome to bring along the actual blackbox helmt aka “The Helmet of Justice.”  Participants were eager to pass it around the room and pose for pictures.  The Helmet of Justice came into existence after a co-worker was hit by a car while cycling.  Jackson can relate because he too was recently involved in a hit and run–and he has the scars on his face to prove it.  Functioning like a blackbox recorder, the helmet automatically detects impact and activates its cameras.  Jackson shared a CNN video about the helmet’s story.

The feedback after the event was that it was awesome, exceeded expectations, and there was definite interest in attending more.  Some people liked the central location, others suggested a “traveling roadshow” that better served the north and south, and everyone definitely liked having food at the venue, especially during the dinner hour.

We have several great photos from the event.  Hope you enjoy them!

The next Borgfest meet up will be Saturday, August 30th.  It will be a casual party featuring special guests and a private backyard screening of one or two films of great interest to cyborg enthusiasts.  Be sure to subscribe to our Updates email list to get the details and we hope to see you at our first Borgfest Backyard Cyborg Cinema!