wonder how much this costs? http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mods/news/2006/06/71087 A Sixth Sense for a Wired World Quinn Norton 06.07.06 | 2:00 AM Steve Haworth holds up a rare earth magnet with his magnetic implant. View Slideshow Steve Haworth holds up a rare earth magnet with his magnetic implant. View Slideshow What if, seconds before your laptop began stalling, you could feel the hard drive spin up under the load? Or you could tell if an electrical cord was live before you touched it? For the few people who have rare earth magnets implanted in their fingers, these are among the reported effects -- a finger that feels electromagnetic fields along with the normal sense of touch. It's been described as a buzzing sensation, a tingling, an oscillation, movement, pure stimulation and, in the case of body-modification expert Shannon Larrett's encounter with a too-powerful antitheft gateway at a retail store, "Like sticking your hand in an ultrasonic cleaner." Body-mod artists Jesse Jarrell and Steve Haworth's original idea was to implant a magnet to carry metal gadgets. It turns out that doesn't work: If you try to carry something magnetic on your implant regularly, the pinched skin between the magnets dies and your body rejects the implant. But they came up with a new application when a mutual friend suffered an accident that left a shard of iron in his finger. He worked with audio equipment, and found that he could tell which speakers were magnetized from the sensation that passed through his finger at close range. That gave Jarrell and Haworth a new direction: Could they obtain that effect deliberately, extending the sense of touch into a sense of magnetism? Todd Huffman, a graduate student at Arizona State University with a background in neuroscience, joined the project and brainstormed with Jarrell and Haworth about how, and where, to best implant a powerful magnet. He helped come up with the most effective design for an implant, and eventually became the first recipient. "The fingertip was chosen because of the high nerve density, and because the hands are constantly interacting with the environment, increasing the chances of sensing electromagnetism in the world," Huffman says. "We chose the ring finger primarily because of its size and relatively low importance in gripping action, so there was plenty of room for the implant and a lower chance of physically damaging the implant," Huffman explains. Jarrell puts it more bluntly, writing about the procedure in a BMEZine article from March: "'If you had to lose or seriously damage one of your fingers, which would it be?' This was our answer." But nobody's finger fell off, and Huffman's results were better than they'd imagined. According to Huffman, the magnet works by moving very slightly, or with a noticeable oscillation, in response to EM fields. This stimulates the somatosensory receptors in the fingertip, the same nerves that are responsible for perceiving pressure, temperature and pain. Huffman and other recipients found they could locate electric stovetops and motors, and pick out live electrical cables. Appliance cords in the United States give off a 60-Hz field, a sensation with which Huffman has become intimately familiar. "It is a light, rapid buzz," he says. I took a trip to Phoenix to have Haworth implant a magnet in me last September. Because body-mod artists are not medical practitioners, ice was the only anesthetic available. My finger was soaked in ice water until it began to hurt. After that, Haworth acted quickly to get as much of the implant done as possible while my hand was still numb from the cold. The initial cut did hurt, but not unbearably. He sliced open my finger with a standard scalpel, inserted a tool to make a gap for the magnet, and tried to insert the magnet in one nonstop motion. The insertion didn't work, and he widened the cut and tried again. This time it worked, and he closed the cut with a single suture. The suture was the most painful step -- an indicator that the cold "anesthetic" had worn off. The process took less than 10 minutes. My finger was slightly swollen and sported a blue, knotted plastic thread. When we were done we sat in Haworth's living room. He brought out a magnet and handed it to me. I brought it near my finger and felt the magnet move for the first time up against the raw inside of my finger. I startled visibly, and Haworth grinned. "Welcome to your new sense," he said.