Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Still going strong

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to give a short update. I still have the implant, and it's doing just fine. I continue to use my extra sense as if I'd had it all along. It's incorporated itself into the way I explore objects, gives me information about electronic devices, and continues to surprise me in its utility. Some recent examples come to mind:

-Debunking a "therapeutic magnetic bracelet," which as it turns out, had no magnets at all.
-Troubleshooting AC/DC adapters and devices. Since the transformers inside them give off a nice gritty field when plugged in, which increases under load, I'm able to feel that both the AC adapter is working and the device is consuming current when charging or turned on. This is handy when you think your Roomba's battery might not be actually charging, even though it appears to be.
-Fuel injectors and spark plug signal wires under the hood. Tinkering with the car, I found that I could feel, very clearly, the ingition spark and the fuel injectors actuating. While I can't see it being particularly useful, it's a cool otherwise-intangible connection with the car.

I'm quite happy with my implant, and still wish to see them hit the "mainstream." Quite a few people have asked me if I still plan to sell implantable magnets, as I'd indicated in a post a while back. The answer is no, I don't plan to sell them. There's too much risk for litigation in our lawsuit-happy society. Occasionally I get an e-mail from a curious sense-seeker, and I'm happy to assist them in locating the implantable magnets. A few have even gone forward with the procedure, with positive results. I don't update this blog often, because there's really nothing to continually update. I'm always happy to respond to questions via e-mail though, so feel free to contact me.

Here's to another year of magnetic sense!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Over one year, no problems.

Well, it's been well over a year since I received my magnetic implant. I figured it would be a good time to give a retrospective view of what it has been like. There are a few topics that stand out, so I broke them up:

Since the first week of having the implant, I have periodically had dreams of the magnet falling out. I'll be picking at it in a dream, and it will squeeze out like a splinter, or it will just fall out. It may be a subconscious awareness of the implant slowly healing out of my body, or it may just be random dreams. In any case, after it happens in the dream I feel a sense of loss, giving me a glimpse of how I would feel if the implant did indeed heal out or warranted removal.

Just like any other part of the body, the tissue in the finger is subject to bruising and irritation. While it's not a constant problem or a hindrance to daily activity, I'll occasionally tweak it "just right" to cause pain and throbbing. Smacking my hand down on a concrete floor, for example, bruised the area. Rolling an object across it, like you would do losing grip on a metal bar, pushes the implant in just the wrong way to really squeeze it uncomfortably. In all these cases the finger was a bit sensitive, and the sense provided by the implant was dulled or numb for a bit.

EM Sensations:
The sensations, of course, have been the best part of the implant. Many things in our daily environment cause many varied and sometimes predictable feelings. I now know the buzz of a fluorescent light ballast without thinking about it. I still find joy in exploring the intangible parts of an object, sweeping my hand near a generator to feel the field or probing store displays for hidden permanent magnets. It's become another tool I use to indulge my curiosity.

Big Magnets:
I have developed a strong aversion to permanent magnets. I consciously keep my implant finger away from them, balling my hand into a fist to protect it when one becomes too close. Large magnets produce strong sensations, but often leave the implant numb for awhile. It's a bit like staring into a bright light and having to wait for the spot to disappear to see again. It's very easy to injure tissue around the implant by exposing the magnet to another strong magnet. I'd say during healing, and well after, permanent magnets should be carefully avoided. I've seen pictures of others with implants suspending a strong sphere magnet, and it makes me cringe to imagine the sensation. Perhaps this sensitivity is unique to the type of implant I used. A very strong magnet, such as a "super magnet" from united nuclear or an MRI, could very VERY easily rip the magnet from the finger, or even worse, drag it deep inside the body doing untold damage. Big magnets are BAD.

Party Tricks:
While it seems demeaning to reduce it to a party trick, many people simply cannot believe or grasp that you have a magnetic implant. They DEMAND proof. Since my implant is so small, it does not easily affect metal objects. It's just strong enough to drag a beer bottle cap across a smooth surface, but not pick it up. I did this to the amazement of a 'street magician' performing in a local hangout, who then asked me how I did it. I told him "magic!" Another interesting trick is to balance a piece of silverware so it rotates freely and coax it to spin without touching it. Really it's just a neat trick, and I'd never be motivated to get an implant for just this reason.

All in all, I'd love to see this enter the mainstream. It's an incredible extension of human perception, and is extremely easy to achieve. We have implantable RFID chips, heart monitoring devices, and many other medical tools, so hopefully it's just a matter of time before this will be available to many more people. I'll continue to post new experiences and insight here, and hopefully keep the interest alive for those who still need convincing that this is an awesome and highly functional body modification.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Experience the sensation - without an implant!

Over the weekend, a close friend asked if a magnet could be glued to a finger and yield the same results as an implant. I had quite a few 'reject' coated magnets from shipping damage, so we proceeded to glue them to our fingers with small dabs of superglue.

The result? It works! I placed one on my left ring finger, for comparison to my implant in my right hand in the same location. My friend used his index finger, and we both noticed sensations immediately.

My friend proceeded to run around the house looking for sources of stimulation. He cheerfully reported that he could feel fluorescent light ballasts, motors, transformers, and most everything else I could think to suggest. "It's like I'm getting a small shock!" he said, probing the field around a particularly torquey motor. "Great, now I'm going to have to get one of these implanted!"

In comparison to an implanted magnet, not surprisingly, the sensations are less pronounced, especially the pulling and pushing of permanent magnets. Oscillating fields are very noticeable, but feel "muffled." Overall the sensations are remarkably similar to that felt from an implant, so the experiment was a success.

The glued-on magnets fell off within an hour or two, so unless a more aggressive adhesive is used (which I wouldn't recommend for skin) long term attachment of an external magnet isn't too feasible. I'll be trying more experiments as well; my friend suggested attachment to the fingernail, which could produce some interesting results.

So if you would like a taste of the sensations a magnetic implant has to offer, grab a bit of superglue, some tiny (but strong) magnets, and try it out!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A trip to the ER - no MRIs with a magnet in your finger

A common question I get asked is "What if you have to get an MRI?" I almost found out the hard way. Following a heavy New Year's Eve celebration, I had abdominal pain. Not out of the ordinary, but in the two days following it worsened and I felt it was time to see a doctor. I went to an emergency clinic, where after a quick examination I was told "You need to go to the ER and get an MRI."

I immediately thought of my implant and asked the doctor if she would be able to remove a foreign body (i.e. the implant) if need be. She believed that it could be shielded, but I would have to ask the imaging technicians at the ER.

Several hours later I found myself getting a CAT scan of my abdomen, which was completely unaffected by the implant. The ER doctors said that an MRI would only be necessary if more detailed imaging were needed. They also said, however, that there was no way to shield the magnet in my finger from the scan, and that it's presence would make an MRI impossible. (The door to the MRI area even plainly stated "NO METALLIC IMPLANTS.")

Eventually I was cleared, given an industrial strength laxative and a clean bill of health, but the experience opened my eyes to some serious situations. What if I had needed an MRI? Would they have been able to quickly remove the implant? What if it had been a time-critical emergency, and I were unconscious? Could having an implant ultimately endanger my life by preventing doctors from acting quickly? What would happen if I were exposed to the machine without removing the implant - would it be torn from my finger or forcefully dragged through tissue?

There are definitely some serious issues that come with a magnetic implant. Don't forget others are in the same boat though, whether through joint replacement surgery or metallic shrapnel, or even an artificial heart. So if you are seriously considering getting a magnetic implant, be sure to weigh and prepare for the possible consequences.