Magnet Implants Can Actually be Pretty Annoying

I recently got a comment on my post Body Hacking: My Magnet Implant that I wanted to share. It comes from a reader who is also named Dan:

I know a lot of people really like these things and that’s cool but I thought it would be informative to have a dissenting view (as far as I can tell, I’m the only guy on the net who doesn’t love this thing). I got one of these 6 months ago. It was really cool at first but the novelty has since worn off. A side effect of the implant is that I now DESPISE all things magnetic (you have no idea how many magnets are in a damn iMac! and guitar amps are HELL!).

I also really don’t care about feeling magnetic fields any more. Seriously, it’s just annoying at this point. Hurray! (sic) My finger buzzes when I turn on the microwave. You no doubt read that “an engineer can use it to see if a wire is live…” Well yeah but most live wires that need testing don’t have current going through them so you can’t feel those. Although I have tried, I haven’t found any practical application for Plutarch (yeah, it has a name).

FYI you can’t feel current off regular 120v power cords, only adapters which was a total bummer for me. Also, mine migrated to the middle of my finger and it hurts to put any pressure on it so stuff like rock climbing is out for me for now – I think I am an outlier [with regard to] the magnet moving. If you really want one then go nuts, it’s pretty consequence-free and it really is fun for a while and the sixth sense really is a unique experience.

P.S. don’t mention the magnet on a first date

I agree with about 90 percent of this comment. As with anything, the novelty of a magnet implant will eventually wear off and the magnet can be really annoying around other magnets. I have to hold my iPad mini in a certain way to avoid messing with my magnet and I’m constantly finding new things that annoy me by messing with my magnet.

Also, I still haven’t personally found a practical reason for the implant. All the use-case examples I gave in my previous post is a paraphrase of things I’ve heard from other people with magnet implants.

I wanted to share this comment because I don’t want my article to glorify magnet implants in any way. Instead, my goal was (and is) to provide an objective view on the procedure as well as provide an account of my own personal experiences. If you do choose to get a magnet implant yourself, keep in mind that once the novelty wears off, you’ll mostly be filled with neutral feelings towards your magnet, with occasional bouts of annoyance and a few interesting discoveries along the way.

However, I do find that bringing it up on a “first date” is a great way to separate the curious from the close minded.

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  1. foljs says:

    Who would be such an idiot as to …implant a magnet on his body??? WTF???

    Is this some kind of fashion? To “feel” live wires? Really?

    What if you have to do one (or several) MRI scans?

    • GJH105775 says:

      Well if you have an MRI they are shielded. How do you think people with shrapnel are given MRIs? If you were given an MRI with the implant in it would almost certainly not rip out o your finger, more likely vibrate pretty violently or be degaussed (demagnetized).

  2. Robert B. says:

    I’m a big fan of body modding, but would caution anyone who a) wishes to go to college for a hard science/enter a career in a hard science because there’s a very good chance that you’ll be near an extremely powerful magnet at some point (NMRs as a chemist in my case, YMMV), or b) anyone who may need an MRI in the near future (Same deal, slightly more likely for the average Joe, maybe?).

  3. Couldn’t you just get a magnetic ring if you want to experience this anyways?

    • Dann Berg says:

      Good question. I get asked this all the time.

      A magnetic ring feels no more like a magnetic implant than magnet earrings. Meaning: it’s not the same at all. A magnet implant vibrates and feels like a part of you, whereas a ring feels like a foreign object, like any other object one would wear, that sometimes lightly responds to things.

  4. An MD says:

    In your prior post you said “I also figure that if I’m ever incapacitated and put in an MRI machine without the ability to give the doctor any forewarning, a tiny magnet getting ripped out of my finger will be the least of my concerns.”

    You do realize that if you are incapacitated and put in an MRI machine, you could kill someone? MRI magnets are not simply turned on once you are inside. That magnet in your finger could get ripped out long before you make it to the machine and become a missile. That might be the least of YOUR concerns, but it’s a giant concern for the good folks at the hospital who are just trying to save your life.

    • Dann Berg says:

      As an MD, you’re also aware that there are numerous different ways the people can get metal shards under their skin, such as construction. Would you say that the risk I pose to the technicians is any greater?

      Also, people with magnet implants have successfully had MRIs with no ill effects:

      From that page: “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.”

  5. bbalban says:

    What happens to the iron atoms in your body while the blood is circulating through your fingers should be studied. Have you checked your iron levels?

  6. nerdnotgeek says:

    I kind of agree , mine is rather annoying sometimes but I still get a kick from the bemused looks I get when showing people my hidden talents. shows some objects.

  7. kjwx says:

    Have recently made the leap into the magnetic vision populace, so obviously am still LOVING the novelty factor. Not really sure why all the fuss about its long-term purpose, though. Seems to me it’ll become like every other piercing/body modification after a while – something you barely notice; occasionally good, sometimes bad but mostly just part of you. Maybe that’s a lesson that comes easy when you have as many holes in your body as I do.
    My main reason for commenting, Dan, was to say I finally understand your hesitance in answering the big W question. In future (when the need arises) I plan to reply with the following quip: “It’s part of the release mechanism for my adamantium claws.”

    • Dann Berg says:

      I feel like anyone asking the “why” question wants a quick and easy answer…to which there is none. Either you immediately know why I did it, or it’s not really something you’ll be able to understand. Now, I have a stock answer regarding feeling invisible fields and they can ask more detailed questions if they’re actually interested.

  8. rebekah says:

    I am very intrigued by the idea of having a built-in compass to improve my sense of direction, but I am not prepared to undergo a medical procedure like this. Wouldn’t say, a magnetic nose ring have a similar effect? Why does it have to be under the skin? I looked at gadgets like the northpaw anklet but they seem so overcomplicated compared to a simple magnet.

    • Dann Berg says:

      A magnet implant is not going to give you a sense of direction. You will not be able to feel magnetic north — it’s not that strong.

      Also, having a magnetic piece of body jewelry does not provide the same sensations. I can tell you from experience.

  9. Josh says:

    I’ve read a bit about the implants and was thinking about getting one but I’m a chef so I was just wondering how that would be?

  10. Mike says:

    This is something that has kept me from getting a magnet. Is the finger or even the hand really the best place for it? What’s wrong with implanting it somewhere less obtrusive? Maybe the forearm would work better?

    • Dann Berg says:

      You can get the magnet implant pretty much anywhere. Having it in your finger allows you to explore magnetic fields in a much more natural way (rubbing your finger against something /= rubbing your forearm against something). Your finger tips are also a lot more sensitive, so it’s easier to sense things.

  11. HuewyDuewis says:

    Wow, these comments about the dangers of a magnetic implant and being given an MRI while incapacitated… It’s like people being afraid of their car blowing up if they fuel it while it’s turned on. This technology has been around for some time, how many stories of MRI machines turning magnets into bullets have you ever heard of? Personally I have heard of 0, also I fuel my car while it’s turned on every single time, if there was a chance it could kill people they wouldn’t let idiots like me fuel cars now would they?

  12. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about magnet implant.

  13. cecile says:

    Hi there,

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog! I have a super strong magnetic implant in the external side of my right hand. Had it for over 4 years.
    My years long crazy friend Samppa Von Cyborg designed and put it in. Unlike Haworth’s and other bodyhackers’ ones, mine is not encapsulated in silicon but medical coated.
    The reason it’s on the side of my hand rather than on the tip of my finger is that, as you found out, the frequency with which we use a finger tip makes us quickly realise how many things are magnetised or bound to attract magnet attention!

    At the question “why you have such a pointless thing?” I always answer that all my kids’s school friends believe that I’m some sort of magical creature, and the look on their face when I make stuff levitate or move is just priceless 😉

    Regarding MRI machines, I was chatting about it with Samppa this morning and there seems to be no danger with 1,5T MRI machines and 3T MRI machines. Anything stronger could be troublesome. However most commonly used are 1,5T machines and sometimes 3T machines.
    3T machines might make you experience discomfort with the implant vibrating strongly.
    In any case common sense would make you tell your doctor that you have such an implant and you’d be provided with shielding by the MRI lab workers.


    • Dann Berg says:

      Hey Cecile! That’s great to know about the different strengths of MRI machines, and each’s effect on a magnet implant. I had no idea! Thanks for sharing. I’m glad to hear yours is doing well!

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