Magnetic implants are something you might hear of out of a science fiction novel. However, in 2004 it is something that became a reality for some. Body modification artist Steve Haworth implanted several neodymium magnets into the fingertips of Todd Huffman. Todd’s goal was to install the magnets for sensory experimentation.
“I am now able to perceive magnetic fields in ways not naturally possible. The sensation is different than holding a magnet, as the neurons are stimulated with a higher resolution. With the implant I can detect subtle changes in polarity and strength that I cannot when equipped with a magnet in the conventional manner. Yet the most significant observations have come from another property of implants, their relative permanence to exogenous artifacts. Being able to perceive magnetic fields has expanded my conscious perception of magnetic fields ‘in the wild’.”
Todd is not the only one to get these implants done. Artist Shannon Larratt also got his own set of magnets installed and removed do to complications. Neodymium magnets act as a toxic substance in the body and often the body will cannibalize, them or otherwise reject them. If you imagined the process of “installation” to be painful the removal procedure is much more painful.
While the hopes of being able to feel subtle magnetic fields, or the whir and click of a hard-drive on a laptop; exist with implants. The unfortunate matter is they are still extremely experimental. One risks a tremendous amount getting them installed. Below is a collection of links where you can find out more on implants. Warning, links contain extremely graphic images.