The truly strapless watch: Man gives himself magnetic arm implants to hold iPod Nano (and we spoke to him!)

Dave Hurban iPod Nano ArmThe pantheon of bodily devotion to tech just got a new hero: Meet Dave Hurban. He’s the guy that embedded 4 magnets in his left wrist in order to attach an iPod Nano to his body. The project is called iDermal, and Hurban can now simply rest an iPod on his arm and be on his merry way — that is, until Apple inevitably redesigns the diminutive music player, which is now on its sixth iteration. We got in touch with Dave and asked him a few questions about the whole procedure, including why he did it — it may not surprise you to find that as an experienced body piercer, Hurban is more interested in living in the moment and doing cool things than whether Apple will change its iconic design anytime soon.

Hurban explained that the technique he used to get the four magnets under his skin to hold the iPod in place is actually a fairly typical one in the world of body piercing. “Those magnets are actually called micro-dermal anchors,” Dave explained, “and in body piercing they are very common. The tops are actually just 5 millimeter magnetic tops.” If you check out the admittedly cringe-worthy video of the process that the design firm Kaleidoscope Kreative shot, you can witness Hurban planting those very anchors, with a look of placid concentration on his face. “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.”

When asked about how much the whole thing hurt, Dave explained, “It actually wasn’t as bad as I thought. It definitely is not the worst piercing I’ve ever done to myself. I was actually just very determined to do the piercing correctly.” We did not dare ask about his most painful piercing.

The true test of success in this case, however, is if the iPod actually stays put and does what it’s supposed to — there’s not much point of a Borg-like human/iPod arm if the thing keeps falling off. Thankfully, Hurban claims that he can swing his arm back and forth and the music player won’t budge. “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.” And when he wears the iPod in public, he gets his fair share of stunned responses. “When people see this, it’s like they’ve seen something that no one else has done, ever, it’s just such a crazy concept. And it almost takes them a little bit of time to grasp. I actually am the inventor of the strapless watch.”

When asked about the capricious nature of Apple product cycles — hey isn’t the Nano due for an upgrade just about…now? — Hurban is characteristically Zen: “I did it because I’m living in the now. I did it because it’s cool now. Even if they do come out with a new iPod, the fact that I did this when this iPod was out, that’s what matters.” Hurban disregards any negative reaction to the piercing, such as some of the comments on his YouTube video documenting the procedure, explaining that the idea was for a strapless watch, the iPod is an infinitely cool gadget, and nothing is going to change that. “To be honest, if they come up with a new one, and it’s bigger or smaller, I probably won’t change it.” Hurban wasn’t making a grand statement about the human reliance on technology in modern society, about how we are all on our phones and Mp3 players so often that they might as well be embedded in us. He also wasn’t trying to sell us something using the jaded cynicism of a viral publicity stunt. According to Hurban, “the ultimate reasoning was that I just thought it would be cool.”

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