26 Jul Patient Has A Sixth Sense In His Fingertips
Tattoos, Piercings, and now… Sensory Augmentation?
I am guessing that this topic does not pertain to many of you. But human beings do some interesting things to their skin and I wanted to share this with my readers.
Modifying the human body has become faddish the past several decades. I have seen innumerable piercings in every imaginable surface and orifice. Implants of rings, bars, pearls, and bones abound. And tattoos, well they are so pedestrian these days it is uncommon to see someone without ink.
But I met a young man recently who takes it to the next level. Evidently this man was not satisfied with the normal human senses of sight, taste, smell, touch and hearing. So what did he do? He implanted rare earth magnets in his fingertips. Now he can add “sensing magnet fields” to his list. Sensory augmentation is a small but growing movement, and I had met my first of the “augmented.”
Having a magnet in your finger allows you to sense things that would normally be invisible to you. We are awash in invisible energy from the universe, radio and cell phone towers, and home appliances. By implanting small magnets in the fingertips, suddenly invisible magnet fields can be sensed.
“It is a slight buzzing. A high frequency vibration really. Totally painless,” my patient shared enthusiastically. Using his newfound superpowers, he can sense whether something is ferrous and even pick up very light metal objects like needles and bottle caps. He can also feel large electric fields like his microwave oven and even sense the small fans inside some computers and cash registers.
Going in and out of department stores tickles a bit if he goes through the anti-shoplifting fields invisible to us common mortals. Practically speaking, finger magnets allow one to tell if an electrical wire is hot or dead.
The magnet is not strong enough to wipe out credit cards or negatively affect any computers or phones. The only downside? “The novelty wears off pretty darned fast.” He says that not only has he noticed the magnet has lost some significant power over the years but that he has lost significant interest.
“You kind of just forget about it unless you pass through a really strong field.” Interestingly he said he has never had a problem with airport security detecting the metal in his finger (but God forbid you try to take some nail clippers or baby formula on your next flight!)
Safety Tips For Sensory Augmentation
Admittedly I am not hip enough to be one of the sensory augmented. I am a simple country dermatologist. But I do have a few thoughts on this subject if you are entertaining having a “sixth sense.”
1. Tell your doctor before you get an MRI. Having a magnet in your hand may actually preclude you from having this study done. Perhaps the magnet would be violently ripped out of your fingers. Perhaps it would cause thousands of dollars in damage to the machine.
2. Go to someone experienced to get this done. These are not your typical cutesy refrigerator magnets being implanted by a buddy with a pocketknife.
3. Handling other magnets may cause your implanted magnet to flip or slide around in your skin.
4. A special coating is required to keep them from degrading and subsequently eroding your skin. I strongly suggest you discuss the risk and benefits of each coating with a licensed and experienced body piercing specialist.
While not as a fantastic as flying or invisibility, anybody can obtain this superpower and experience the world around them in an entirely novel way. And although the prospect of finger magnets is quite intriguing, I am still waiting for someone to invent a chick magnet.