Bottlenose Development

Has there been any significant development in the Bottlenose in the past few years? It's weird that nobody seems to be working on ways to use biomagnets beyond sensing magnetic fields. I mean, that's useful and all, but the idea of having a range of sensors that could be used with an implanted interface was one of the things that got me interested in biohacking. But it looks like all the relevant GitHub repos have been abandoned since 2013.


  • I'm actually obsessed with this specific development. I work a lot with big data and actually analyzing the input would allow for the augmentation of artificial senses to much higher calibers. Sharks, for example, have an electrical sense that is based on thousands if not millions of individual cells painting a picture of their electrical... "field", of view, mind the pun. I have been doing research into pit viper's thermal sense and it seems to be a similar concept.

    The real bottlenecks seem to be: power, limited understanding of cell biology prior to the completion of the cell atlas, and a limited understanding of the 'language' and structure of nerves/neurons, which I am actually unsure on regarding how much data we have obtained in 2018.

    A workaround that is sufficient for my short term goals is to pair data analysis with sensor arrays and have visual readouts to report the data. It isn't truly integrating a sense into the mind, but it is at least giving us a convenient way to extend our powers of observation.

    Anyone working on the power bottleneck is moving things in the right direction I think. Between purely hardware power storage and biobatteries/artificial electrical organs, I hope to see a lot of progress coming soon. Even a wearable that could charge devices through induction would be very useful.

  • I'm referring to the Bottlenose, I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to. Cell biology and neural interaction isn't really a factor, it's just using an existing magnet in a different way. And I'm not sure where the induction charging enters into it.

    Stimulating an implanted magnet is fairly one-dimensional, I'm not sure how useful it would be for dealing with data. Barring things like changing the direction of the field, your main change is the amplitude (and maybe frequency) of the stimulus.

    The Bottlenose was intended to make use of magnet implants to deliver different information. In their testing they used an ultrasonic sensor as an input. A coil of wire was used to create a local magnetic field and stimulate the magnet based on the information received from the ultrasonic sensor. By pairing other sensors such as thermal probes or geiger counters, it should be possible to swap in senses as desired, making the implant useful for more than just electromagnetic sensing.

    Given that there doesn't seem to have been much development, I may have to start working on it myself. I'd like to integrate AC and DC sensing ability to assist in my work. A magnet on its own can detect the fields from flowing AC current, but can't detect an unloaded live wire or DC voltage with any reliable accuracy.

  • I've built my own distance sensor which actuated my implanted magnet, and I couldn't get any information which couldn't have been transmitted through a vibrating contraption. Later on, I made a vibrating distance sensor in a flashlight handle, and people knew how to use it without being told or implanted.

    Bottlenose wanted to expand their capabilities by adding things like ticks/taps for sending numerical data, and you could do the same with morse code and letters. That's a wise path, but those are still pieces of data which can be transmitted with a vibrating motor just as easily.

    My friend, who has an m31, says that my knock-off Bottlenose was "like riding a roller coaster." Maybe I'm missing something, but using an implanted magnet as half of a vibrator isn't any more useful than an off-the-shelf vibrator motor.

    David Eagleman is interested in adding senses and he talks about a vest full of vibrating motors in his Ted Talk [Link]. Can someone justify the superiority of implant versus external stimulation?

  • That's a fair point, it doesn't really do anything a vibrating motor couldn't do. But since you can use a sensor to pick up magnetic fields, an implanted magnet doesn't do anything a vibrating motor couldn't do either. Yet here we are, on a forum about sticking magnets in ourselves.

    So, actual benefits:

    An implanted magnet is essentially noiseless, while any external moving parts such as a vibrating motor can create unwanted noise.

    An inductive interface could be as thin as the wire used to form the coil, so wires could be run to a coil (or multiple coils for directionality) on the inside of a glove rather than attaching a motor, which reduces bulk.

    Speaking of directionality, directionality. A magnet could be vibrated or pulled in several different axes (including rotational), while a motor is restricted to a single mode of vibration.

    Perception of frequency and amplitude changes may be more precise given that the stimulation happens in direct proximity to nerves, allowing greater resolution in the sensation. I don't have any evidence to back this up, but would be interested in doing some trials.

    Hidden i/o becomes a possibility. Using a reed switch to turn on a computer has been done, and adding an inductive feedback function to other peripherals or objects is also an option. Magnetic rings could provide much of the same function, but you can't misplace an implant.

  • I would argue that there is a difference between a tool and a sense. When you get a magnet installed, your brain associates the new sensations with new input criteria because it's always active. This is different from a tool which only works when you are using it. Holding a refrigerator magnet near your microwave will allow you to determine where the transformer is behind the case but it might not be second-nature to wave it around and get an idea of the shape of the field.

    Attaching a peripheral to your hand and actuating your magnet implant is the same thing as holding a tool. Unless you wear this distance sensor often enough for your brain to associate it with real-world measurements, it is a tool.

    Your point about magnets being noiseless makes a lot of sense. I modified one of my knock-off Bottlenoses to chatter a relay so I could sense vibrations at specific frequencies and it was far from silent. Plus, slamming soft metal contacts all day will wear them out. You can add longevity to your list of pros.

    I like your point of creating a thin coil, but everything I have seen that is capable of moving a magnet implant has been bulky. There is a limit to how much current you can pass through a wire and too much will turn a coil into a cauterizer.

    Moving a magnet in different directions might work for some better than others. When I had an m31, pulling from different directions always felt like a generalized pressure without any direction. My Haworth silicone magnet will spin under the skin, but I can't tell which direction it spins.

    You mentioned that you would like to try measuring implant results versus external stimulation. I will post a link to my distance sensor if you want to give my version a shot. The parts are cheap, and I would be happy to see your results. [LINK]

    Hidden I/O is a fun idea that can work with RFID tags as well. I do a magic trick for people where I ask them to place two cylinder magnets inside a wooden box and close the lid. The magnets have a piece of black tape on their north poles. When I pass my bare hand over the magnets, if it flips, the magnets are facing opposite directions, but if it wobbles, they are facing the same way. Then I tell the person the magnet arrangement. It is a neat party trick that gets people thinking along those lines of sensing something hidden. [Magic Box LINK]

    The point of the magic trick is that my hands are bare and I can sense the magnet without a device. Anyone could pick up a magnet or a magnetoscope and get the same data.

  • edited February 21

    That's a good point about a sense vs a tool, and it's one of the key arguments that persuaded me to try implanting a magnet. I hadn't actually considered that the response with a bottlenose would be very different from "natural" EM fields, but it makes a lot of sense.

    With enough practice it may be possible to get used to the response from a bottlenose-style device, and since the physical response would be the same with various sensors attached, it may make it quicker to acclimatize to new sensors after getting used to the first one. With the same coil arrangement, the stimulation would presumably be along the same gradient.

    One of the things I'm planning on trying is a dual coil setup. One directly against the finger by the magnet, and a larger, thicker one against the fingernail. Hopefully that will allow for a greater flux density between the coils than one on its own would be capable of without burning up. The one on the fingernail obviously wouldn't have as much of an effect, but being on the outside of the hand would make the extra bulk less annoying.

    I'll definitely build your device once my implant heals up! I only implanted ~48 hours ago, so I won't be able to provide any meaningful data for a while yet. I'll definitely follow up here though, whether it takes or gets rejected.

    Your whole site actually looks to be full of projects and ideas that are right up my alley, I love it! I know the Canadian dollar sucks right now, but hopefully I sent enough to have a beer on me.

    Edit: Ah, you're a regular at Hackaday. I thought your writing style seemed familiar.

  • I derailed your thread, and you brought it back around again. Nicely done.

    Perhaps it will be easier to learn new devices through the implant. The most convincing argument for that I can conceive is that 99% of the time, my magnet doesn't give me any feedback whereas every other sense is constantly providing information. If you create different sensors, I would add some kind of unique trait so your body can differentiate. For examples, let's say you build three sensors into three different gloves. A distance sensor might be in a glove where you keep a piece of Velcro on the palm, and you begin to associate that scratchiness with distance sensing. A temperature sensor might have a thin metal bar pressed against the top of your hand, and you associate that cool stiffness with temperature sensing. A metal detector glove could have a rubber band over the pinky finger, so you associate metal detection with that pressure sensing.

    How adept are you at building electronics?

    From my experience, the magnetic amplitude is not a reliable factor for sensing. Fields drop off quickly, and there's a squishy layer over the magnet. Moving your electromagnet 0.1mm away could be enough to unlearn all your sensation. Frequency has worked the best for me. Once you get it up and running, you can play and find out what works best for you. I haven't done anything with reversing fields, but that seems promising.

    Congrats on your new implant and thank you for the donation. It'll be going to new parts in no time. HaD is my second home and second job.

  • I'm glad I found this thread! Bottlenose and similar possibilities are one of the main reasons I got implanted (around a month ago). I'm working on building something similar to Bottlenose right now.

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