Cyberpunk Review » Experiences in Body Modification

June 8, 2006

Experiences in Body Modification

Wired Magazine Body Implant


Quinn Norton from Wired has a pretty intriguing article on using magnets as body implants in order to begin to develop awareness of electromagnetic fields. He actually went ahead and got a magnetic implant in his finger.


I took a trip to Phoenix to have Haworth implant a magnet in me last September. Because body-mod artists are not medical practitioners, ice was the only anesthetic available. My finger was soaked in ice water until it began to hurt. After that, Haworth acted quickly to get as much of the implant done as possible while my hand was still numb from the cold.

The initial cut did hurt, but not unbearably. He sliced open my finger with a standard scalpel, inserted a tool to make a gap for the magnet, and tried to insert the magnet in one nonstop motion. The insertion didn’t work, and he widened the cut and tried again. This time it worked, and he closed the cut with a single suture. The suture was the most painful step — an indicator that the cold “anesthetic” had worn off. The process took less than 10 minutes. My finger was slightly swollen and sported a blue, knotted plastic thread.

When we were done we sat in Haworth’s living room. He brought out a magnet and handed it to me. I brought it near my finger and felt the magnet move for the first time up against the raw inside of my finger. I startled visibly, and Haworth grinned. “Welcome to your new sense,” he said…

…The magnets are small, and once encased in skin, all they do is react next to nerves, conveying the presence of sufficiently strong electromagnetic fields. “The magnetic implant is not the most sophisticated or rich sensation, it was just the easiest to implement with our available technology,” says Huffman.


Wired Magazine Body Implant


Damn! Soaking your finger in ice and then slicing?? That’s true hardcore!! Unfortunately, things don’t always go as expected. Often, the silicon coating breaks down, rendering your finger prone to infection. Bezine has an article that graphically shows the removal procedure when things go wrong.


Several months after having the procedure, some people begin to have problems. Some magnets begin to turn dark under the skin, suggesting the bio-neutral silicone sheath is failing. Exposure to the body starts breaking down the magnets.

Two months after my own magnet was inserted, and long after the cut itself had healed, I experienced one of these problems firsthand. My shielding breached and the implant area became infected. The infection resolved, but the region turned black and my sixth sense evaporated.

My family doctor tried to remove the magnet and failed. Instead, the implant shattered into pieces, and I could no longer pick up other magnets with my finger. After months of ESP, all I had left was a sore digit with a dark spot.

I figured that was the end, but it wasn’t. Four months after I lost all effect, the spot darkened and the magnetism returned. The magnet — being a magnet — had reassembled itself in my finger. While it’s nowhere near as sensitive as it once was, I can once again pick up other magnets.


The interesting thing this shows is that decent percentage of the population are really interested in expanding human capabilities through technology enabled solutions. True cyborgs aren’t going to remain solely in the realm of science fiction for long. But um, hopefully they get better anesthetics than ice for this type of operation in the future.

This post has been filed under Cyberpunked living by SFAM.


amberlita said:

Trippy. It’s just one step closer to having our identities, from social security numbers to medical records, in a chip in our arm that can be scanned rather than having to use a paper trail. And one step closer to being monitored by big brother in new and frigthtening ways.

The world will be one big cyberpunk palace in 50 years.

SFAM said:

50 years? Wow - that long???? I was thinkin the RFID arm-thing wasn’t more than 10-15 at most!

June 9, 2006

amberlita said:

Correct. The arm thing is sooner rather than later. I meant the environment on a whole will start to look more like a cyberpunk film in 50 years. We could get the arm thing going now and it wouldn’t make the world cyberpunk. But it’s only a matter of time till we have cyborgs walking around and it looks like A.I.

50 years. Just say i called it. :)

July 19, 2006

Shadows of the Chat » Magnetic Implants? said (pingback):

[…] This is the first I’ve heard of this kind of body mod. […]

[…] ยป Experiences in Body Modification More on the use of magnets in body modification (tags: body+modification magnet+implants) […]

May 17, 2007

L1zrdking said:

Thanks to this shitty bot, I read this article, as well as the several on bmezine pertaining to this. That is incredibly interesting and its a shame that they didnt work out. That is defiantly something I would be interested in once the bugs are worked out quite a bit more. So for once, Thanks shitty spam bot.

May 18, 2007

Wiggett said:

lol thanks to teh spam bot I also found this article! it sounds pretty cool, I’d still have issues with inserting something under my skin, especially with the bio-sheath running risk of dissappearing :S . Not long until we all get 1 gig sd ram cards inserted with usb 2.0 ports poking out :) actually that sounds like a cool idea!

July 26, 2008

BoyOfTheEnders said:

I’d rather get a nice 512mb mp3 player in my head, with a usb or audio port, either that or just give me some internal sound, and a interface of some kind.

Sounds crazy, but have you seen how small Mp3 players are now?
I can see someone fitting one into their body.

Why not me?

September 11, 2008

Chris said:

Hey i like tottaly think that, that is crazy SHIT dude.

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