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Idle Apple Technology

Subdermal Magnets Allow You To Wear an IPod Like a Watch 228

Okian Warrior writes "Tattoo artist Jersey from Dynasty Tattoo (in New Jersey) implanted sub-dermal magnets in his arm to wear his iPod touch like a watch. From the article: '“Those magnets are actually called micro-dermal anchors, and in body piercing they are very common. The tops are actually just 5 millimetre magnetic tops,” he said. “I took the ends of magnets and actually adhered them to the back of the iPod, and that’s how they click into my skin.” He added: “I can go for a run and it won’t come off. I’ve already taken it to the gym and jogged with it on.”'"
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Subdermal Magnets Allow You To Wear an IPod Like a Watch

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2012 @10:50AM (#39994713)

    New, even smaller, iPod. Users will need to buy new accessories, or new arms in this case.

  • by TWX ( 665546 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @10:51AM (#39994723)
    Seriously, there was a day and age when "magnets = bad" was the mantra. What kind of problems should this guy actually see with his gear, long term, subjecting it to strong magnetism? Will this mess with the memory in the device? Will this accelerate problems like tin whiskers?
  • by maweki ( 999634 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @10:53AM (#39994739) Homepage
    It is nice but I rather be augmented sensewise than fashionwise by these magnets. I'd love one in my fingertip that induces a current whenever I am very near alternating current. Would give us the ability to feel electric energy or magnetic fields in general.
    Regarding the iPod: Actually, my pocket works very good, Thank you!
    • fingertip magents would be a very BAD idea.

      the way it works is you have current whenever you have motion in a magnetic field so you would have all sorts of problems

      (besides all you would need really is a small coil not a magnet)

      (for details look up Right Hand Rule (electronics) in Wikipedia)

      • by Damion ( 13279 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:07AM (#39994923) Journal

        Speaking as a guy with magnets in his fingertips, you're wrong. They're nowhere near strong enough to cause trouble.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:47AM (#39995505)

          As another guy with fingertip magnets (one in each ring finger) I second this!

          Magnetic fields cause the tiny magnets to align to the field. You can feel the magnet inside the finger being attracted or repelled. In the case of alternating current, you have an oscillating electromagnetic field which causes the magnet to vibrate. There's no current being induced; you don't get shocked. If you want to try it without the implant, superglue a tiny rare earth magnet to your skin and go hunt some strong oscillating EM fields (AC adapters, some electric motors.) It's definitely a cool human augmentation, and kind of a comic book superpower. Sort of.

          In the case of the article, he's got subdermal anchors with magnets attached to the part that sticks out of the skin. I've been wondering if one could get the same magnetic sensory ability from this arrangement, feeling the vibrating magnet. You could switch it for different magnets, and the shaft sticking out of the skin would give the magnet more leverage in most alignments.

    • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @10:59AM (#39994795)

      Have fun getting an MRI.

      • Or any kind of surgery (including oral or nasal) where the anesthesiologist will flat-out refuse to admit you until the microdermals are gone, leaving behind scars.

        • Seriously? Any chance of a link with some more info on that?

          • No links - Just dealt with having a microdermal removed back in February when I had my nose done. The anesthesiologists required that all piercings be removed. :-(

            • by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @12:30PM (#39996047) Journal

              Interesting. If anyone else cares, a somewhat enlightening bit of Googling on the subject seems to indicate that it varies from doctor to doctor, and that the main concern is the metal interfering with electrocauterisation equipment (in the case that something goes wrong during surgery, even if it wasn't intended to be used originally) and causing burns. It's a risk mitigation thing, and it appears that some places won't budge, whereas others will have you sign a release, with further variability based on the inherent risk of the type of surgery in question.

        • by J'raxis ( 248192 )

          What is the reason for this? The fact that it's metal, the fact that it's implanted, or ...?

          • The fact that MRI machines operate using a crazy-strong magnetic field. If you have a small magnet embedded in you, it's going to exert considerable force in an effort to become de-embedded. If you're lucky it won't tear a hole in anything vital on the way out.
          • For MRI, anything that might be even remotely magnetic is a no-go. Medical MRI systems start at 1.5 T and go up to 3 T, so anything in, on or near your body that can be affected by a magnetic field, will be. We have a two-page-long MRI safety form that we walk patients through prior to an MRI - if anything on the form is positive, you're not getting your scan until a radiologist reviews precisely what the offending item is and approves or denies the scan. (This includes tattoos, BTW - some tattoo pigments a

      • by J'raxis ( 248192 )

        No different than someone with a bone fracture with metal pins in it...

    • by Damion ( 13279 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:00AM (#39994801) Journal

      It's pretty sweet. I've got one in my right thumb and index finger. I feel a buzz whenever there's a strong enough alternating field nearby, and a tug whenever I pass my hand near strong static magnets. I'll be walking down the street and feel sensors to detect the presence of cars, and I can feel the brakes in subway cars. Nothing particularly practical, but I figure I may get a couple of seconds warning before the shockwave if I ever feel an EMP.

      In terms of strength, I can basically pick up staples. Anything heavier falls off. Other magnets I can drag around on the table pretty easily, though it's uncomfortable to have them actually contact my fingers.

      • That is pretty awesome, but I still have to ask:


        • by Damion ( 13279 )

          Because it was there:Mountains::Because it was awesome:Subdermal mangets

          I like having senses other people don't. It doesn't give me any practical advantage, but it's neat.

        • by J'raxis ( 248192 )

          Sounds like a pretty good counter-surveillance technology, being able to know when you're in the presence of hidden metal / RFID / security strip detectors without carrying any overt detector-detectors.

          Now I'm wondering if something like this can be used to detect EM like radar or millimeter waves, or if not, what could?

      • by scyph ( 153674 )

        How long was it from having them implanted to being able to feel the buzz? I had two done at the beginning of April: right ring finger and back of the hand. I'm yet to feel anything 'accidental' (if I hold a magnet nearby, they go nuts; I can pick up staples too).

    • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:21AM (#39995137)

      Ah this old idea that pops up on /. every month or so.

      This is where I relate that you can get ALMOST the same experience temporarily with stretchy gloves and little magnets in the fingertips. Obviously buy gloves with fabric fingers just a little longer than your fingers. In the frozen north, in season, this is not much of a challenge... Florida /.ers are probably all like, gloves, what are those?

      It is fun for at least a couple hours. Try touching the body of a big motor or old fashioned xfrmr power supply. Variable speed AC/DC "universal" motors were not as much fun as I expected. Waving in front of a CRT screen is entertaining.

      You want gloves thick/strong enough to not tear, but not so thick as to lose sensation.

      GOOG for "magnetic wedding ring" and you'll find lots of crackpot "magnets cured mah arthritis" pure BS, but this is probably the ultimate in non-invasive experimentation. Unlike the Magnet-in-glove thing, I've not tried magnetic wedding rings.

      The biggest problem with "magnets/hands" is what happens when it inevitably cracks. Sharp little ceramic shards pinching slashed up tissue. So don't go giving steel plates a "high five".

    • Magnets are used to keep the internal and external antennas [] aligned for cochlear implants. CIs have been around for a while, so the community has learned some important lessons. First, you need to plan for magnet removal in the event of an emergency MRI. Most CI users don't get MRIs but sometimes there is a critical need. Therefore, newer implant models allow a qualified doctor to make a small incision, pop the magnet out without damaging the implant, and then put everything back after the MRI. This is extr

  • Any doctors around to comment on possible blood flow issues due to a build-up of metals in the veins behind that intense a magnetic field?
    • by Damion ( 13279 )

      The magnets that they use are coated pretty well. Mine are actually flat little magnets that are used in magnetic stirrers in chemistry labs. They're made to be as inert as possible.

      In the first generation, the guy who did them coated them with silicone that would rub off. It would cause the skin around the magnet to blacken once that happened. Once I found out that they fixed that problem, I jumped on it.

      Of course, if I ever need an MRI, I'll need them taken out.

      • Also it appears the ones used in TFA are actually inert transdermal anchors with magnetic caps - in this case there's no reason to embed the actual magnets, whereas I'm assuming you got them for the whole 'extra sense' thing?

        • by Damion ( 13279 )

          Ayup. My superpower might not be anything to write home about, but it's what I've got!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by scyph ( 153674 )

        Of course, if I ever need an MRI, I'll need them taken out.

        Not necessarily:
        From: []
        '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.'

    • +1 this. I was thinking the same thing. Like an oil drain plug that collects iron filings, I would think a subdermal magnet might collect iron from hemoglobin over the years.

    • The iron in your blood is not magnetic.

      If anything, this would be a GOOD thing. You should not have any free flowing heavy metals in your blood. If you do, your kidneys are probably about to explode.

  • i do that with my macbook, on my chest

    "nice rack" they point and laugh

    yeah, it is a nice rack server, over WiMAX, neanderthals

  • FTFY: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DarkIye ( 875062 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @10:57AM (#39994771) Journal

    "Subdermal Magnets Allow An Unusual Man To Wear an IPod Like a Watch"

    • in body piercing they are very common

      Given that the guy's a NJ tattoo artist, he probably associates with a culture that does consider the anchors normal and usual, and the added ability to hold devices turn something rather ordinary into an extra capability. While it's an iPod for a tattoo artist today, it could be an Android tablet for doctors tomorrow, a network monitor for IT staff, or sheet music for a piccolo player...

    • by ari_j ( 90255 )
      My concern is more with the "like a watch" comparison. Who here affixes his watch to his body with subdermal magnets?
      • Looking at the article, I was actually thinking this would be a lot cooler with a nice watch face than an iPod. Having it just sitting there without a strap seems like a subtle but kind of interesting way to modify a fairly standard accessory.

        • Srsly. A clear watch case with lots of exposed gears, (or maybe a red laser beam mounted next to my right eye) would look WAY cooler than a dumb old iPod.
      • You mean there are other ways to wear a watch?!

  • This is a nice way to get stuck to a light pole when it isn't freezing or you're too squeamish to lick it.

  • Obviously this guy won't see this comment, but it is not recommended that you leave anything of weight (especially other magnets) attached to subdermal magnets embedded under the skin. It prevents blood flow to the skin being pinched between the magnets, which can kill the skin and cause the body to reject the magnets or create a nasty infection. Similar to that buckyballs incident where a girl swallowed a couple and it really screwed her intestines up.
  • You know... (Score:4, Informative)

    by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:20AM (#39995117) Homepage
    You know what else would allow you to wear an iPod like a watch? A watchband [].
  • by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:33AM (#39995305)
    Funny, all the watches I've seen have a strap that goes around your wrist to hold the watch on, which is not a bad idea if you think about it.


    If I'm having something implanted, it should at least do some interesting sensing - blood cell count, oxidation, glucose level, or at least my pulse.

    That, or covert I/O with an Internet-connected cognitive prosthesis.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Funny, all the watches I've seen have a strap that goes around your wrist to hold the watch on,

      Watches have a chain which attaches them to a button on your vest. And you keep them in a special watch pocket when not you're not winding them.

      Now stay off my lawn, kid!

  • Not new (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evil_aaronm ( 671521 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:33AM (#39995307)
    I've had a magnet stuck to my head for about 15 years. It's called a cochlear implant. There's a metal plate embedded in my skull, but a moderately heavy-duty magnet holds the inductor coil in place. As far as I can tell, I haven't had any problems with this.
  • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @11:35AM (#39995329)

    It's also possible to achieve the same effect without humiliating your own body by using a strap.

  • Geez, dude, go against the flow! What a way to be mainstream, buy the most produced MP3 player in the world. Some people just have to conform I guess. Me, I like to be different!

  • It's kind cool, and if you're that far into the whole body piercing thing, go ahead.

    But I've already seen commercial products which basically give you a watch strap to attach to the exact same iPod. Google for "ipod watch" and you'll find them.

    So, me, I'd stick with the solution which doesn't involve embedding something in my arm for a product which is likely to change over time or get replaced. Especially since I own more than one watch.

    Still, it is kind of cool from a certain perspective.

  • And not just because it'll kill the skin. I tried mounting my phone in my car using magnets, to use it as a GPS. The problem with magnets is that their field strength decreases with distance. So when I went over a bump which jostled the phone, the greater the jostle, the less force the magnets exerted to holding the phone in place. With each bump, the phone drifted further off the magnets, the retaining force decreased, making the phone less and less secure. Eventually after lots of bumps and jiggles,
  • ... scratch his balls with his left hand. Or those magnets will get stuck to his Prince Albert.

  • by Frankie70 ( 803801 ) on Monday May 14, 2012 @01:48PM (#39997043)

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham