If you have been within talking distance of us, or if you ever swing by the biohack.me boards, you have heard about some of our other projects. Notably, at this point, the development of the m31 magnet that we are releasing through Dangerous Things
This lil’ guy, sitting at 1x3mm in dimension and maintaining its powerful N52 rating, is something that we have put a lot of time and effort into prototyping. It has been ok’d by the Association of Proffesional Piercers and is the first magnet specifically designed from the ground up to be implanted in the body. We’re pretty pleased.
So, the question is, why? Why go through the time and effort to make something like this? I’m not going to discuss the benifits or reasons for the implant itself, I’m going to tell you about the state of the art of implantable magnet coatings, as it is.
See, the mod scene is self regulated. Magnets as implants aren’t new tech. People have been doing this for at least a decade. However, it has mostly been a matter of “here’s a thing I want in my body” meets “The internet tells me this is a biosafe coating”. Nobody, not even the professionals, tested these things. No one ever put the device under a microscope to see if the coating was complete, or properly done, or just some other random thing stuck on there.
Well, we did.
We obtained a variety of other magnets from well know providers with a variety of coatings. It’s not important where the magnet comes from, only what material it’s coated in. We sourced magnets coated in parylene, silicon, and our own design, titanium nitride (TiN). Of course, titanium nitride is nothing new in implants. However, neodymium magnets are temperature sensitive and the process to coat magnets with TiN removes the magnetization, so it’s never been used. We found a work around and that’s what we are bringing to the table.
Each magnet was tested for cytotoxicity, fouling, and surface verification. That means: does the device kill things when it’s exposed to mammalian cells, does stuff stick to the surface increasing the chance of rejection and medical complications, and what does the coating look like up close, is it smooth, is it complete?
The parylene coated device is the mainstay of magnet implants. It’s easy and it’s cheap. Other people have used dental resin or even suguru, but those options aren’t being discussed here, as it’s a terrible idea to use those.
Parylene fluoresces, which is great because that means that you can check to see if the coating is uniform. A non uniform coating means that you will get fouling, loss of coating, and eventual rejection.
As you can see, the surface of the device has variable patches of brightness instead of a uniform glow. The coating is patchy and in some places, has flaked off. Cytotoxicity tests gave us low cell death amounts and the fouling was roughly 25%, which is standard. For reference, a surface is considered anti-fouling when attachment is under 10%.
Silicon as a coating requires a much thinker coat to stop it from being torn or broken by shear forces and impact. Because of this, the device was easily twice the size of the other magnets. This greatly reduces the pull force of the magnet.
Silicone doesn’t fluoresce, but it doesn’t matter in this case. Blurring around the image edge is due to thickness of coating, which made it difficult to focus on the surface in one plane. At 200x magnification, the irregularity of the surface is clear, both at the edges where it is assumed the material was cut or perhaps “punched”, and in the quality of the surface itself which seems filled with divots.
It is believed that this is an artifact of improper curing, the indentations being the outlines of gas bubbles as the solvents escaped the coating while curing.
Cytotoxicity was low but the fouling was very high (over 75%) That high fouling can most likely be attributed to the non uniform nature of the coating.
In addition, the silicon coating process usually utilizes heat. Amal from dangerous things tested the silicon magnet’s gauss strength. It’s not as high as it says it should be.
The titanium nitride coating is tough. Stronger than steel, one can make the coating very very thin, a definite plus. Beyond that, the vapour deposition process allows for a fairly uniform coating.
While there are irregularities, you can see that the coating is quite smooth, no sharp edges. The cytotoxicity is exceptionally low coming in under 5%. The fouling was below 10%. Better yet, due to the method we developed for the coating process, the guass strength was maintained. A new sensor was ordered because these magnets are literally off the charts with the sensor that Amal had.
Obviously, we are releasing these results to the public. We suggest that everyone takes a serious look at the material given to you by professionals.
We are really happy to bring some solid data to the field of implantable coatings, and look forward to doing more. If you are interested in getting the official documentation about these coating tests, please contact us.