Every six months I have to go in for a tuneup, a wireless data dump & service testing. Having having one's heart slowed to sub-40bpm via a few taps on a screen is...odd. Printed report tells assorted stories of daily activity periods, odd events, heart rate hitting programmed thresholds, etc. There have been some confluence of proximity & programming causing twitching under some circumstances (couldn't sleep on my left side for a year due to a lead pressing on & convulsing diaphragm) which were fixed completely thru software settings. Have a minimum threshold programmed in, and if it's set too high (say, 60bpm) and I relax deeply can feel it kicking in with "go faster!"
Proved quite useful a couple weeks back. Suffered a random onset of aortic flutter (can happen to anyone, just sorta happens), where a natural short-circuit in the beat-signal nerves sent the heart rate up to 349bpm (neatly documented on the printed data dump). For most people, this means a very scary and tense race to the emergency room, with AED paddles & drugs to bring it down until the problem can be surgically eliminated. My pacemaker hit the brakes at 150bpm, leaving me functional to wander in to the ER at my convenience; there, a tech was brought in to set up a more aggressive flutter-control program (70-100bpm more aware of actual physical needs). That kept things manageable until the drive-thru heart surgery to fix the problem (1 hour to send a probe up a vein to find & burn out the short, 3 hours rest, then discharged). Wasn't what the pacer was installed to handle (ventricular resynchronization), but the "while we're installing this, let's add a wire and program in some other someday-useful stuff" has indeed proven useful.
Other body modification is a mechanical heart valve. I tick. I've been confused with clocks.
Yes, MRIs are completely out of the question now. Work near a small one and get nervous walking by the door.
OK, so these weren't exactly voluntary. Choice aside, being a cyborg does make for interesting experiences & conversations.
ETA: BTW, not looking forward to replacing the battery. At least the device has been saying the battery will last another four years - for the last four years.
This kind of control and capability makes me wonder if they won't someday become common in a preventative/health monitoring role instead of only for cardiac defects. The risk during installation and problems with MRI seem pretty serious, so I doubt it could happen soon, but it's not impossible.
I wonder what some sort of self-assembing/modular device that can be fed in chunks through a vein catheter or keyhole surgery, and built in-situ could be plausible.
Not sure what to do about the MRI issue though. They're only going to get more common as we figure out superconductors, and they have none of the radiation downsides of CT. Maybe non-metallic construction, or perhaps when milli-Tesla MRI becomes a reasonable alternative?
Is the battery in yours single use, or recharged via induction loop?
Battery is single-use. I wouldn't want a rechargeable, because that would require far more frequent charging - to wit, much more room for error. Missing a charge would mean a dead...me. I'll take the ~5-8 year hard-way replacement.
What surprised me was that the total expected exposure was much higher for the patients spouse that the patient themselves. It's got twice the thickness of partner in which to be absorbed, but there's only close exposure for maybe 8-10 hours a day, and the inverse square to deal with.
"So, they tested these things for all the possible stresses they would encounter -- high G maneuver and impact if they were in a car wreck, crushing force, electrical damage (from a lightening strike, etc), anything that they were likely to encounter whilst inside a human body. However, they were never thermally tested -- after all, why would the human body ever experience >1000 degrees F?
Ends up the answer is cremation. So, for a while, a major hazard around funeral homes was radioactive crematoriums."
Also apparently a mercury hazard.
Thanks for clearing it up!
Upshot: it's just me.
So, I guess it works.
Could you describe in detail what that experience was like? That's incredible.
One tech told more about the test. They really want to just shut the pacer off to see what the heart does without it. Problem is, a lot of people fall into a deep depression for several days. Even with it still beating, albeit slow, I felt rather...off...for the rest of the day.
If you ever write up more I sure would be interested.
I type these words with a (non-elective) series of metal prostheses implanted in my hand and wrist. Luckily, I don't set off metal detectors unless they're turned to extremely high sensitivities. But MRIs are out. I don't want to get into TMI detail, but let's just say that I have an ongoing medical condition that makes the inability to get MRIs a big setback.
Tread carefully with this stuff. Look before you leap.
You realize there are other large magnets in the world besides those for MRIs?
Demagnetizers... isn't the whole point to enclose the field? I'd also expect a warning sign or two, or for you to pay attention and know it's there. This is one of those "make your decision, and then live with it" things, and part of "living with it" is being aware of these things (and that acquaintances with more humour than sense might try to hand you magnets you can lift tables with).
Large electric motors... Dunno, have no experience of them yet.
Tangentially on the topic of MRI safety, there's a fascinating story of a police officer who got too close to an MRI. The magnet yanked the gun out of his hand and the gun went off despite the thumb safety being engaged. (Nobody was hurt and the MRI received only superficial damage.) Apparently the strong magnetic field pulled the firing pin block out of the way, allowing the gun to go off. Details: http://www.ajronline.org/content/178/5/1092.full
Besides, I've been exposed to serious magnets; the inverse cube law is my friend. Plus, even when I did come close to a strong magnet, all that happened was my implant flipped ends. In my finger, yes, but it wasn't painful (my implant is a cylinder, about as tall as it is wide; a disc magnet would have been much worse).
If by "unconscious" you mean asleep, not many.
If by "unconscious" you mean unaware, plenty. Try walking past these in a lab:
FYI: Neodymium magnet strength is of order 1T, same as MRI.
The implant is powerful for its size, but its size is _tiny_ (half a grain of rice is a good comparison). It's not going to be as strongly attracted as that.
I know that cochlear implants are very different from finger magnets (cochlear implants are attached to bone) but it does challenge some of my basic assumptions.
It should also be noted that it would take less than five minutes to remove the implant with a scalpel.
*I've had the pleasure of being MRI'd a few times in a 4 Tesla research MRI (normal MRI's operate around 1.5T) and occasionally I would get nerve stimulation due to eddy currents set up in tissue. An interesting feeling!
Would still be a headache though.
It looked more than a little flashy, and it provided less sensation than it would've implanted, but it worked surprisingly well.
I also found a ring sizing guide: http://pages.ebay.com/buy/guides/ring-sizing-guide/
It's also worth noting that the fascial compartments of the hand can make infections tough to treat, and compartment syndrome can occasionally lead to serious problems requiring finger amputations.
Regardless, it's an interesting experiment that I'm glad someone who wasn't me performed.
PS: What if I need an MRI?
Originally it was thought that the magnets would always rip out of the skin and attach themselves to the MRI. However, we now know of a few people who have the magnets have gone through MRIs and this did not happen. One person reported that the magnet just vibrated very strongly. Another person reported that the techs shielded his hand, as they would with someone who had shrapnel or other implants. However, there are several different types of MRIs, so we can make no guarantee of what will happen during your MRI, so you must discuss it with the technician. It is likely that they will give you a hard time about it, so you should be prepared for this and for any possible risks to yourself. It’s also possible that the MRI might demagnetize your magnet.
There's some people horsing around with 4T MRI that might give you pause.
PS: Then again at 10T you get to fly so it may still be worth the risk. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1vyB-O5i6E ;-)
Wire article on haptic compasses: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/15.04/esp.html
It would be cool to have something like this that defaults to north, but could be programmed using GPS and a smartphone to point somewhere else.
Absolutely, bike rides to unknown places would be a joy.
The vast majority of people go only as far as some piercings and maybe a tattoo. We need to get away from the absurdity of contemporary body mod culture: tooth sharpening, scarification, branding, horn implants, sclera tattoos, gauging, suspension, tongue bifurcation, lip discs, genital modifications…it’s too much.
That kind of modification is a dead-end because it doesn’t fulfill its nominally transhumanist goals. But regular people could warm up to things like magnets and RFID tags, or, say, internal sensors to let you know of impending health problems. That sort of body modification provides actual value in the form of information that would otherwise be unavailable or inconvenient to obtain. I think that’s where we’re headed in the next couple of decades.
> That kind of modification is a dead-end because it doesn’t fulfill its nominally transhumanist goals.
Does art have to?
It might be a rather bigger concern for the owner of the MRI though...
Not to mention all the other patients who need the MRI machine your "sixth sense" just shot a hole through.
(This my recollection from my friends who've done research with MRIs. I have no first-hand experience with them except once as a patient.)
The early reports of electrical fields inducing sensations had intrigued me, so I set out to explore the possibility of controlling the magnet with an external electromagnet, which in my final design was a simple coil ring worn around the finger, and use it as a sensory substitution man-machine interface. After measuring the frequency response, sensitivity etc characteristics, I finally put it into a practical application demo by using the interface to couple an ultrasonic ranger and a mobile phone to myself. The ultrasonic ranger was used to feed the distance information and I learnt pretty quickly to judge distances and move about with my eyes closed. In the phone scenario, I encoded characters as Morse Code pulses and could "read" the incoming text messages. My morse skills weren't that good but it worked!
The internalization of the sensory information, with the magnet being inside the body, made a qualitative subjective difference as opposed to simply having a magnet glued to the finger.
There's a bit of info on this and pictures/xrays on my blog: http://www.jawish.org/blog/plugin/tag/smii. The details on the interface is on the paper we published: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/freeabs_all.jsp?arnumber=5898...
My best experience with real world magnetic fields? Wires. It was mind blowing to be able to feel the field around a wire which we usually think nothing of. The power cable to the electric heater generated a field I could "touch" about 4-5 inches away! What does touching it feel like? Like touching a stream of air. :)
Let's just start by dispelling the myth that there are "five senses", and then we can agree that this does provide an additional sense. The inner ear is an orientation sensor and orientation is clearly a sense, therefore there are more than "five senses".
Classifying senses is difficult. Some believe we have six, some believe we have many, some believe different people may have different senses. Some senses that I've read simply described one of the "five" senses being perceived in a slightly different way (the sense of pain is the sense of touch), some extra senses are simply two or more of the "five" senses put together (such as being able to sense when there's someone else in the room).
I'm not a neuroscientist, so I'll just leave it at saying "five senses" is easy to understand and explain for a complex subject that every common man needs to understand. Trying to complicate it further will garner no fruit.
The difference between neuroscience and my engine is, people know how the engine was built because someone actually built it. In neuroscience, even the experts don't know how everything works, and it's a matter of much debate. Do you think we should teach this debate to every student in our schools, knowing that the kids aren't going to keep current with that debate as they age and will be running on misinformation the rest of their lives? Or should we teach them what they need to know then give them the tools to learn more as they gain interest in the subject?
Let's teach scientific facts in schools. To quote Wikipedia,
What constitutes a sense is a matter of some debate, leading to difficulties in defining what exactly a sense is.
When we learn the Bohr atomic model, teachers explain that it is not completely accurate, but a useful starter mental model. Teachers should explain that there are more than 5 senses as well.
This is where my teacher told us that we had more senses. Sense of pain. Sense of balance. Sense of electricity. I accept that there are more things that can be called senses. I also accept that there may be reason to teach them. However, there are a lot of things taught in schools, and a lot of things that are not. The concept of sense is important to know, but so are a lot of things. My school taught that there may be more senses, so I guess I might be confused by the notion of any educated person not knowing other senses exist. As a simple teaching method (keeping in mind public schools are mandatory and therefor must keep the students attention), "five senses" as an example works for children, and as a turn of phrase for adults. It's up to the educated mind to continue learning, and this is where schools fail.
Teach fact. Teach how to find these facts. Only get into the detail when there is something to be gained. Anything else and you risk losing your student. Like I said originally, people "know" there are more than five senses. The phrase sticks because that's what we learn as a child.
Were you taught we're made up of cells? If you answered yes, you're wrong, but many people believe they do, and the real answer is complex, and protons are a "good enough" answer blah blah. The reality is much more complicated, with mitochondria and nucleii, etc.
My physics-fu is lacking, but I was also taught that protons are made up of quarks. If a proton is really just a silly term for a collection of quarks then it's not lying, there's just a smaller thing when we break them apart.
Anyway the notion of extending sense is interesting, and I wonder if anyone has implanted a hall effect sensor (rather than a magnet) and had the eddy current run to the nerve nexus in a finger tip. You would not be able to pick up paper clips but you should be able to 'feel' all sorts of electro-magnetic phenomena.
The only people I know who _have_ done it are Dr. and Mrs. Warwick, who used it to do nerve-firing-over-IP from New York to Reading.
And your inner ear is fooled because the gloop in the organ-I-can't-remember-the-name-of suffers from inertia, registering false movements (or false lack of movement). Which is why spinning around in a circle for a while makes you dizzy; your ear is registering the movement continuing, your visual cortex is seeing everything staying still, and your brain has no idea how to integrate the two. ",)
I sort of read that same feeling between the lines of the article. It's a bit of a novelty when you first get it, but after a while it's not all that special.
Not sure how they would shield from outside interference/have the field coming from your pocket reach your hand in all situations though.
Not sure if there's any grain of truth to that or not. It was Hollywood.
I was kinda surprised the most frequently asked question when ppl heard about it – and the one that came pretty unexpected for me – was "why?!".
thanks for the article!
And I too am really surprised when people ask "why?" Is it not obvious?
No, actually, it isn't. Is it just because it's "cool" (like a piercing) or is it serving some practical purpose for you beyond that? Genuinely curious.
Does it serve a practical purpose for me? No, I have it because it's "cool" but not at all in the same way that piercings are "cool." It's cool because I can feel motors, power transformers, etc.
It's also very useful for picking up dropped paperclips.
I was very excited and interested to learn the actual purpose. Fascinating.
hope to meet more ppl with magnets soon – if you ever happen to be in Germany, drop me a line :).
It's also been tried with sticking tiny magnets to the fingernails, then varnishing on top: http://www.psfk.com/2010/06/fingernails-implanted-with-magne...
Try feeling the shape of an object with your palm versus with the tip of your finger.
They are super annoying to make stay where you want them.. I would go crazy if I had one inside me.
And I've done a little rock-climbing since I got mine. Not enough to be entirely sure with it, but some.
> Luckily, the magnet is not strong enough to wipe out credit cards nor will it negatively affect electronics or computer monitors.
He doesn't specifically say anything about tapes or Hard Drives, but I doubt it.
Can you explain what you were trying to say using more than two words? I really don't follow what you're trying to get at. Both words seem meaningless and wrong in this context.