Montag, 21. Januar 2013

Magnetic Implant & Sensing Electromagnetic Fields


The Implant

About six weeks ago I met Samppa von Cyborg in Paris and got a magnetic implant. I had seen these before in action on Aneta von Cyborg, who magically collected all the bottle-caps from the table by the power of her magnetic implants.

Here is my own implant in action:



Samppa did an amazing job with the implant. I had seen pictures of the procedure on the internet before and some of them where not pretty. Samppas method would have taken about 3 minutes and was completely painless. I said *would have* as I almost fainted when I saw the 4mm needle he used or punching a hole in my hand :-D. After the incision was made and the magnet implanted, the wound was closed with a band-aid. All in all the implanting procedure was probably less unpleasant than donating blood.

It healed up quick enough as well, the image you see above was taken about a week after I got the implant.

There where two factors which played in with where I had the implant done. a) I wanted it to be out of the way so it does not interfere with my work with electronics and b) I wanted it in an area which is as sensitive as possible. Ultimatly I let Samppa decide where to put it, as placing was not really important to me and I felt  that if I have the chance, I might as well take advantage of his experience.

The reason I got it was also two-fold. I am interested in body modifications and I felt that having an implant done myself would allow me to get a better feeling and intuition about modding. The main reason however was the promised "extra sensory perception" which the magnet delivers: in theory, if you move your hand through a variable electromagnetic field, it will make the magnet vibrate. This allows you to "feel" these fields.

Sensing Electromagnetic Fields

Initially I was actually disappointed by the magnet. It was either deeper in my hand or weaker than the ones Aneta has in her hand which made it impossible to pick up bottle-caps (which, to be honest, I was really looking forward to :-D...).

About two weeks after I got the implant, I accidentally (ok, not completely, it was more out of curiosity) moved a strong magnet too close to the implant. The magnetic fields did not align, which caused the magnet to twist. This was not a pleasant sensation. (though it didnt hurt. it was more like my hand tickled from the inside.) I assume this was not especially beneficial to the healing process.

After a while, however, I almost forgot I had it and stopped fooling around with it.

Now, on a (relevant) side-note I recently also got myself a new laptop. A small 11" Lenovo thingy. Its so small, that as I rest my hands on it for typing etc, part of my palm lies outside of the area of the laptop. So when the laptop starts working harder, I feel the warm wind of the laptops ventilation on my palm.

Now this evening, I wanted to heat some milk, and because I was holding something in my right hand, I used my left hand to turn on the microwave. Immediately warm wind started blowing against my palm. If I where using an oven this would not have surprised me, but a microwave is not supposed to have warm wind. I put down whatever I had in my right hand and reached for the microwave again: No warm wind. I reach out with my left hand: Warm wind. For a second I was completely confused and all of a sudden it hit me: this was the magnet. I was feeling the magnet. 

Once I realized that, the sensation slightly changed - it was less warm wind and more a feeling of its own (but still sort of warm-wind-like). I was able to map out where the field was. Interestingly it was super loopsided, expanding far into the room on one corner of the microwave, while I could hardly feel it one some other corners. 

I assume I had probably been feeling the magnets effects for quite some time now without noticing, usually in connection with the fan of my laptop (possibly the laptop fan even was what induced the magnet to vibrate?). As the vibration probably occurred at the same time as I felt the with warm wind of the laptops fan, I assume my brain somehow linked these two sensations.

I am not quite sure which part I find more amazing. The fact that I am actually able to sense these electromagnetic fields, or the fact that they feel like warm wind to me.

Some friends regularly ask me "have you become a cyborg yet?" I guess as of now I could tentatively answer with "Yes". 

On Vulnerability

I have been thinking a lot about the side effects of my implant. In essence it makes me more vulnerable. I introduce new ways of hurting my body. Most notably, going into an MRI scanner is probably a really, really bad idea. (which is actually quite relevant for me, as I would love to be able to play with fMRI.) 

So somehow it is an exchange of vulnerability for sensory perceptiveness. This fits in with a lot of how I experience technology. It lets us do amazing things and it makes us a lot more vulnerable, as it creates dependencies. It also fits in with how I experience our senses. The better our ears, the more vulnerable we are to the noise at concerts and other loud events (which are usually a lot louder than is safe for our hearing.) So in essence, the better our senses, the more ways we have of getting hurt. This makes lots of sense somehow.

Now (even though I am running danger in being cheesy) I guess this goes for emotions as well. The more emotional you are and the more you are capable of showing love for something or someone, the more you expose yourself and invite hurt and pain. I find it interesting that this exchange of capabilities for vulnerabilities exists over all these different domains.



But anyway. I digress. I was talking about magnets. In my hand. Which let me feel variable electromagnetic fields. Which is. well. Pretty bad-ass in my opinion :-D

Kommentare:

  1. That is so epic... I remember reading about it a while back and was slightly tempted to do it some time in the future...

    Can you still use your hands intensely? E.g. rockclimbing-intense? Or does pressing the magnet hurt...

    Let me know how it works out in the long term!

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  2. The only negative experience I have ever had was when I got it too close to a strong magnet and the implant flipped or twisted or something. This however did not hurt, it was just a really strange sensation.

    Aside from that, everything has been ok. I have been rock-climbing and through airport security without any issues.

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