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I have magnets implanted in my hands (magnetfinge.rs)
216 points by tsp on Jan 22, 2019 | hide | past | web | favorite | 106 comments

I had one in my left ring finger for a while. It was neat, totally impractical, and way too sensitive to touch. I could feel EM fields. This might be really useful if you work with electricity, but as a developer, it was only every so often that I noticed something. It lost a lot of its power to pick up small stuff after a while.

The procedure wasn't painful because the person I went to had some numbing agent that I'm almost certain they weren't supposed to have (by saying this I can't say where I got it done so the body mod artist doesn't get in trouble). I opted for super glue instead of a stitch which also helps in the pain department.

The biggest drawback, as someone who is active, was how sensitive it was to touch. You basically have a hard lump right under some thin skin. I would end up doing push ups with that finger off the ground for a couple of years. If you banged it, it hurt like hell. I got mine removed and my girlfriend got one put in. She got hers removed a few years later. The coating on hers did end up breaking and her skin got a bit discolored where it was.

Yeah, I also had one for a few years and wouldn't really recommend it. It's cool to feel fans and microwaves spin up or pick up small parts, but the magnet lost strength over time and I got it removed because it wasn't worth the sensitivity and constant worrying about hitting it too hard. I also had to be careful not to hold it against strong magnets for too long; I was told if the skin got pinched too much/too long, bad things could happen.

But hey, want to try it without having to cut a finger open? Try super-gluing a small neodymium disc magnet to a fingernail. Just be careful with your phone.

I'm imagining a bemusing hypothetical scenario where every night before you go to bed you could plug in your finger into a finger-shaped magnetizer, as if you were charging a phone or something.

> It's cool to feel fans and microwaves

Feel like it should be possible to have a bracelet that buzzes in response to magnetic fields as a less extreme alternative to this?

or just get a magnetic bracelet?

The magnetic fields from those items don't produce much force, so you need a small thing on sensitive skin to notice the effect. A bracelet is probably too heavy to notice fields that don't also come with a "warning: strong magnetic field" sign.

I mean I guess I was thinking of something to amplify the effect, probably with a small battery in it. All the sated curiosity with none of the questionable body modification :-P

Sadly, you can't beat the physics with today's magnets. Magnetic monopoles are still sci-fi, so the strength of a magnetic field over distance falls of with an inverse cube law; the field strength is proportional to 1 / (distance ^ 3).

For the same reason, electromagnets need to use an enormous amount of power to be effective over long distances.

That's why people get these magnets implanted; because they sit right against the nerve, and the distance is on the order of nanometers. Hurts like heck to get it in, though.

How about a ring with magnetic material in it? I can easily pick up very small vibrations and movements in my wedding ring. I can imagine that a magnet in another ring would respond in a similar way, and felt much in the same was as a magnet in the finger.

From other comments in this thread I think facts of the matter is that the vibrations you sense in your ring aren't that small comparing with what you can feel with your fingertips.

Which to me makes sense, I wouldn't put the sensitivity at the base of my finger above what I have at the tip.

Powerful neodymium magnet rings are readily available and widely used by close-up magicians (search "PK ring" or "kinetic ring"). They don't palpably react to common electromagnetic fields.

By the way be very careful with the injection of novocaine etc into fingers. The proper application of a ring block is tricky, and if you get it wrong (which is easy to do) you can end up with necrosis -> loss of the digit. It's due to the cramped anatomy of the digits; other regions (apart from the head) are much easier.

All that being said I've long been interested in trying this.

Injections of local anaesthetics into end arteries like fingers are only dangerous if the formulation contains a vasoconstrictor (adrenalin/epinephrine) in addition to the anaesthetic agent.

Which almost all injectable will as it's a potentiator and improves locality of effect.

The ones you can get at some dentists vastly improved with my dentist anxiety

One day I was watching The Thought Emporium, the host did the same thing[0].

It was cool to watch, but then I was starting to worry what if one day my doctor want to put me through a MRI machine ...

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aVwvJn7vpo

It's far more dangerous than useful if you work with electricity I'm afraid.

I was surprised to read that the magnets weaken over time. I honestly thought permanent where really permanent, but according to a google search:

> Neodymium magnets are the strongest and most permanent magnets known to man. If they are not overheated or physically damaged, neodymium magnets will lose less than 1% of their strength over 10 years - not enough for you to notice unless you have very sensitive measuring equipment.[1]

So while they apparently do degrade, it still makes me wonder what these people are doing to markedly reduce the power of their magnets considerably over just a few year.

[1] K&J Magnetics - FAQ https://www.kjmagnetics.com/faq.asp

Makes sense when you think about it. The property of magnetism is caused by the alignment of the atoms in the material. Surely this ordering is as subject to entropy as all other order.

But the speed at which people are reporting their magnets losing strength makes me think they're either using low-quality magnets, or their brains getting used to the sensations and tuning them out. I think if mammals had an evolutionary purpose for sensing magnetic fields, they'd already have methods for doing so. From recollection I think dolphins have this trait and use it to navigate.

>, or their brains getting used to the sensations and tuning them out.

or nerve damage from having a magnet just under the surface, several of the people here said it hurt to bump them

I would have thought this too, but most of them are reporting that they can no longer hold paper clips or other small metal objects. It has to be either quality issues, or some third cause.

The problem with Neodymium magnets is that they are notoriously fragile and can chip easily or even explode after being kicked (and the tiny parts would rearrange in unpredictable ways around your nerves and capillars). You don't want such thing happening inside your flesh probably


From what I read it could be the buildup of scar tissue around the magnet. I can't find the source, sry.

As a parallel question: does that mean that permanent magnet motors degrade their performance over time ?

To a negligible amount in my experience. Many electrical motors have an official shelf-life of around 10 years, due to other factors. If the magnet is treated correctly, it wouldn't loose much strength, maybe 1-2%.

Some magnets lose strength from concussions and higher temperatures. A very strong magnetic field can also damage the magnet. That said, motors with permanent magnets have quite good performance properties and are pretty energy efficient.

And if your magnet fails, you can always revitalize it with an external magnetic field.

Probably exposing them to strong magnetic fields.

Biohackers give me the creeps. I remember this one big failure story of a women that spoke at a CCC event a few years ago. The magnet she implanted into her finger dissolved in her and they had a pretty hard time pulling out the individual bits. I cant get rid of the feeling that these people have read too much scifi.

biohacking definitely has a tinge of "DIY cyberpunk" to it. I find the area interesting, but my concern is that the mods they do right now aren't actually useful, and the surgical aspect is totally unnecessary. This leads me to think that magnet/RFID implants are more about in-group signalling (about being a hardcore hacker or being into cyberpunk or transhumanism) than they are about enhancing your abilities.

Meh, I wouldn't get something like this done myself but fair play to the people advancing the art. It's their bodies after all. Piercings and tattoos were also pretty primitive for the longest time (not that I have any of those either, but I certainly appreciate the more creative ones).

oh yeah, I wouldn't want to stop them; some of my friends have these implants. I just think it's a little odd because I lean transhumanist myself but the current implants don't seem to be very useful, hence my suggestion that they might be social signals instead. Don't mistake my analysis for wanting them not to do it.

I always thought "bio-hacking" was a pretty grandiose term for shoving a magnet under your skin. As far as I'm concerned, "bio-hacking" occurs every day as doctors prescribe medicine or repair and enhance broken bodies.

I think "hacking" is used here in a very similar way to "punk" - anything that's done without the approval of authority in an individual, anarchistic fashion. So implants are a very rudimental form of biohacking, but I think that's related to how relatively immature the field is. The real question is how it could scale to practically useful "hacks" if you need an operating theatre and access to trained surgeons. Personally I think it's a bit of a dud and biohackers would be better off venturing into things like nootropics, non surgical human enhancement (like that magnetic-north belt mentioned elsewhere in the comments) and genetic engineering.

A little off topic, but: My understanding was that all of the things claimed to be nootropics (other than stimulants, drugs, and medicines) didn't have any evidence that they actually work?

That depends on what those things are. As far as I'm aware, all nootropics are medicinal drugs. Except noopept which is specifically designed as a nootropic, but that works too.

Can I just buy a magnetic ring somewhere, giving all the same benefits but without the downsides of surgery? Still sense EM fields but without pain, infection risk, can still get MRIs etc.

Super glue a tiny powerful magnet to your fingernail.

This sounds like a pretty good alternative.

I have several magnetic rings. Nowhere near the sensitivity of an implant, but still has the usefulness of grabbing things and so on, with the added benefit of removal at security checkpoints.

not really. the sensitivity of magnets under the skin in contact with nerve endings is an order of magnitude more powerful.

What about something that conducts vibration + an exterior device?

I've tried taping a Zen Magnet to my finger, and while I'm sure it's nothing like having an implant, it was mildly amusing. For a few minutes.

I wonder if a piercing would be a suitable hybrid, giving additional sensitivity while still being removable. If detecting EM fields is the goal, I'm not sure there's much advantage to using a finger as the location.

That question is addressed in the article.

That answer was added sometime after it hit HN - see wayback machine.

I always wondered why you can't do this topically. Perhaps a magnet in some kind of elastic band around your finger? Or even glue a magnet to your fingernail?

Surely it's not necessary to put one inside you.

This idea reminded me of this VERY old story: https://www.wired.com/2007/04/esp/

It's about a guy who made a belt to always vibrate in the direction of true north.


> I suddenly realized that my perception had shifted. I had some kind of internal map of the city in my head. I could always find my way home. Eventually, I felt I couldn't get lost, even in a completely new place.

So there does seem to be some kind of benefit to adding new senses whether through internal or external modification.

As a blind guy, I find this idea quite interesting. An extra sense of direction could indeed be useful. However, north alone isn't much. A system that encodes obstacles as vibrations would be nice. Indeed, such systems are already sold commercially for the blind, however, most that I checked out didn't really perform well in the real world.

The most recent version of the system in that article seems to have enabled navigation and pathfinding as well. But the vibrations are being used as a positive indicator (go there) rather than negative (don't go there).

Hey, I'm interested in these blind-navigational systems. Can you give me some references / brand info?

I am too lazy to look up URLs for you, but here are the keywords/product names you need: UltraCane, LaserCane, BuzzClip, Sunu Band

Here is are instructions and code for a free version:


Theres actually a whole bunch of "touch" senses and they are all tuned to different frequencies. As well as having neurons located in different depths. It makes sense that magnet closer to a neuron will transmit vibration to that neuron better.

Also practically, consider the feeling of a little bitty splinter embedded in your hand, versus on top of your hand

What about like fake fingerprints that are magnetic? I wonder how thin they can make magnetic sheets? It might be too weak though but you could potentially do all 10 fingers.

I was thinking a ring.

Seems more upgradable.

I think you're missing some of the point. Enthusiasts for this kind of thing are the same kind of people that inexplicably embed metal objects into their face just to feel different.

Body modding has been around for thousands of years in various cultures.

It's just something weird humans enjoy doing.

What is wrong with wanting to look different? What makes you so great that you can judge people?

> It's just something weird humans enjoy doing.

Interesting syntactical ambiguity here:

  It's just (something weird) humans enjoy doing.
  It's just something (weird humans) enjoy doing.

This is why I think languages could use a monosyllabic sound for open paren and close paren. The closest we have are like "um." You could say something like:

It's just, uh, something weird, um, humans enjoy doing.

As a guy with a bunch of tattoos, I'm fine with saying it's both! :p

What about the parent was judgemental? I've had friends that were into body nodding, and they very proudly described themselves as wierd. That is one of the big draws, the unusual factor. Reading the parent, I see no reason to accuse them of being judgemental.

It reads as obviously condescending to me, including the word "inexplicably" only to provide their own explanation.

> I see no reason to accuse them of being judgemental.

Note that phrasing can be condescending regardless of the author's intention.

All this talk of being understanding and non-judgmental, but here you are, passing judgment on his words without caring to understand his intention. More concerned about how you think he ought to have said it than what he actually meant. This is the way to destroy open and honest communication in society. Passive-aggressiveness and silent grudges, everywhere.

And who made you the judge of condescension, anyway? How condescending is that. Hypocrisy.

Text is hard. The word inexplicably was intended to be used to suggest there's no clear value add, no increase in standard of living or health benefit or whatever to offset the health risk.

Lol @ "phrasing can be condescending", that's a silly level of pretend objectivity.

Wrt to "feeling different", thats what every body mod enthusiast I've ever met or seen on TV said their reason is.

As far as my opinion? There's nothing wrong with it. But I wouldn't hire them for any potentially customer facing roles.

> no increase in standard of living or health benefit

Many people use body modification to feel ownership and control over their bodies, or to essentially make a part of their identity physical. This no doubt has mental health benefits - my own piercings help me in feeling control over myself in a society that seeks to take that away from me.

> inexplicably embed metal objects into their face

> just to feel different.

Saying someone does something "just to feel different" is extremely condescending. It's like saying "just for attention" which is not the reason people do everything.

It is implying people who choose to do body modification are vain and childish.

Cody's Lab did this as well. He ended up removing it, though I believe a small fragment was left behind.

Struggling to find the videos, best I could do was : https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-ylHmM2zLNQfaCIDYKKG...

Cody took down that video and a lot of his other ones when YouTube got really trigger happy about flagging explosive context or anything vaguely not advertising friendly due to King of Random. That was one of the videos he took down but he did mention it in others. I cant find the video where he talked about the video takedowns sadly.

It's sad that YouTube has got to the point where people feel the need to self-censor totally inoffensive videos.

We desperately need something better than YouTube.

PeerTube is a decentralised alternative which uses ActivityPub and can federate with Mastodon.


I guess the question is, what is it about current YouTube alternatives that don't cut it, apart from the userbase being smaller.

Oh thanks, that explains it!

I've had a programmable NFC tag embedded in my right hand, between my thumb and pointer finger for the last 5+ years.

I forget about it for a month or so sometimes. It's neat, I guess, for storing a small amount of text information (bitcoin private key, stuff like that). Can read with any NFC capable phone.

Thousands of Swedes are also doing that. They store credit cards and key cards under their skin.


Do you worry about the security implications of this? If you storing something sensitive like a private key, I mean.

It's not any amount of bitcoin I'd miss. Just kind of for fun. I guess I could encrypt it with some passphrase that's easy to remember, but I haven't bothered. Honestly I'd be impressed if someone retrieved the bitcoin.

It would be fun to implant the functional parts of a contactless credit card into one's palm, then freak out cashiers with your supposed force power. :)

A private key is only valuable if the person knows what the key is for and how to use it. Stealing a random looking string off an RFID can't be that valuable unless it's a very targeted attack.

There are a couple of sources of implant grade magnet, such as steve haworth and https://cyberise.me/transhumanme/37-sense52.html

I’ve had several procedures done by Steve and recommend him for anyone else looking to get this sort of work done. He is a professional and pioneer in this field.

I have one of the earlier generations of these magnets implanted and everyone needs to understand the risks. Mine has lost its charge and I hope that it isn’t due to a leak in the silicone and that it isn’t being devoured by my body. It’s probably been pushing a decade now and I am passively looking for someone to remove this implant as well as a rejecting transdermal.

If you do get any of these body mods done, realize that many aren’t going to be forever and you will need to have a removal plan.

In all horrible honesty is self removal with a localized anesthetic not an option? for a subdermal implant it's not as deep as one might think. Once you overcome the initial pain you should be able to remove one yourself. (this is not medical advice and I could be horribly wrong)

Sure...I imagine it's an option. I know someone who digs moles out with a pocket knife and a bottle of isopropynol. Lots of things are options. Doesn't mean they're all good ones.

Your acquaintance may like to know common 3% hydrogen peroxide can be used to great effect for oxidizing moles and warts off. It just takes some time, but persistent application eventually destroys the organic flesh and conveniently leaves a chemically cauterized surface behind.

I think it's for the 'it makes him feel manly reasons' mostly. I'm not sure oxidizing it off slowly with hydrogen peroxide would have the same effect as cutting into his own flesh and cleansing the wound with searing alcohol does.

Sounds like self-harm more than anything. I hope your friend is OK.

Every barbershop should be able to do this.

Get your beard trimmed at the same time.


It's all about risk (and liability)

In my opinion the actual practical uses for a magnet implant are near nil, while the risks of needing an MRI scan someday in the future are very real. You might even be severely injured and unconscious when sent for an MRI, and medical professionals could very easily miss the implant. That would not end well.

Instead of large magnets wouldn't it make more sense to have lots of little ones? I am thinking something like magnetic tattoo ink.

It would remove the touch/blockiness issues and be touching many more nerves.

Your immune system would try to collect and excrete all of them. This happens to tattoos. Soon your magnets would be allocated in your lymph nodes.

Would that be such a bad thing, assuming the magnets aren't toxic? Full body EM detection possibly.

Site creator here - just added a few extra FAQs to elaborate on some of these comments

I'm all down for getting implants, but doesn't seem like the pros outweigh the cons yet :P

> I’ve seen quite a few large and intrusive biohacking experiments, which I personally wouldn’t touch with a 10ft pole.

I wonder what are those

Well, these guys have implanted LEDs and other electronics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grindhouse_Wetware

Every answer is worse than the previous one. It seems like a burden more than anything else.

Pretty sad to hear they degrade so fast over time, the possibility of sensing electromagnetic fields just sounds so fun to me, like adding another layer to the human senses

Why not just super-glue the magnet to your fingernail? Almost all the benefits, almost none of the risks.

Well, except that you need to reposition it all the time as your nail grows out.

I'm pretty certain it will fall off way before that becomes a problem.

Change sticky base every 3-4 months?

Have you ever met someone else who had this done?

Was there an attraction?


But to the actual question of anybody actually getting this done, I still don't see the reason why. Yes, these things can be done; but for what purpose? Like, is there a professional advantage?

I don't know how sensitive these things are but in theory, they can be used to feel the amount of current going through a wire, something, I guess, could be useful to electricians.

every one of my friends who implanted neodymium magnets had it rejected at some point within 5 years of implantation

my site coming soon iDrinkAntiFree.ze .

Don't see any positive of doing this magnet thing...other than negatives. Known and unknown

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