An Australian astrophysicist was admitted to hospital care after getting four magnets stuck in his nose while he tried to invent a new device designed to prevent people from touching their faces amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Guardian.
Magnets in the nose from coronavirus isolation
A research fellow at a Melbourne university, Daniel Reardon was assembling a necklace with an audible alarm that sounds upon facial contact — but then he hit a snag.
"I have some electronic equipment but really no experience or expertise in building circuits or things," he said to Guardian Australia.
"I had a part that detects magnetic fields. I thought that if I built a circuit that could detect the magnetic field, and we wore magnets on our wrists, then it could set off an alarm if you brought it too close to your face. A bit of boredom in isolation made me think of that."
This is when the academic realized that the electronic device he had subverted his expectations — it completed a circuit only when no magnetic field was present.
"I accidentally invented a necklace that buzzes continuously unless you move your hand close to your face," said Reardon.
"After scrapping that idea, I was still a bit bored, playing with magnets. It's the same logic as clipping pegs to your ears — I clipped them to my earlobes and then clipped them to my nostril and things went downhill pretty quickly when I clipped the magnets to my other nostril."
Risky operations with magnets
Reardon explains that he put two magnets inside his nostrils, with two on the outside. When he took the magnets off the outside of his nose, the other two stuck together on the inside. Then he tried to use the other magnets to remove them, which did not work out for him.
"At this point, my partner who works at a hospital was laughing at me," he said. "I was trying to pull them out but there is a ridge at the bottom of my nose you can't get past," he said. "After struggling for 20 minutes, I decided to Google the problem and found an article about an 11-year-old boy who had the same problem. The solution in that was more magnets. To put on the outside to offset the pull from the ones inside."
"As I was pulling downwards to try and remove the magnets, they clipped on each other and I lost my grip. And those two magnets ended up in my left nostril while the other one was in my right. At this point I ran out of magnets," he said to The Guardian.
Instead of going straight to the hospital, Reardon then decided to pull them out with pliers, but then the pliers themselves became magnetized by the magnets inside his nose.
"Every time I brought the pliers close to my nose, my entire nose would shift towards the pliers and then the pliers would stick to the magnet," he said to The Guardian. "It was a little bit painful at this point."
Then his partner took him to the hospital where she works — more for schadenfreude laughs than medical assistance, according to Reardon. The doctors found it amusing too, and said things like "This is an injury due to self-isolation and boredom," said Reardon.
The doctors used an anesthetic spray to manually removed the magnets from the man's nose. After coughing the last one out, the astrophysicist said he had ruled out further experiments with face-touching magnets, and that he'd find new ways to pass the time at home.