I can think of all kinds of jobs that would benefit from being able to sense magnetic fields and electric currents.

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." ...

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.

Read the rest and drool. Unfortunately thh procedure sounds painful and the experimental implants have so far only lasted a couple months before degrading. Implanting devices into nerve-rich body parts, like fingers, is a great idea for interfacing man and machine. Can anyone think of any other sensory devices that could be usefully put into a finger?

A geiger counter is an obvious example, but probably not that useful to most people.

How about a microgyro with an RF tranceiver that interfaces with your home computer and allows you to control it by gesture? If you hook your home appliances up to your computer, you could control your whole house by waving your hands around in the air like a wizard!



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