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Speakerless Headphones?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by [email protected], Jan 24, 2005.

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  1. Guest

    I remember seeing an writeup in popular science about 5 or 6 years ago
    about some headphones that don't use speakers. They attached to the
    listeners temples and transmitted signals right to the brain or
    something like that. Anyway, I'm trying to find out who made them...
    does anyone else remember hearing about this type of technology, or
    know where I could find the company? thanks
  2. Leon Sorokin

    Leon Sorokin Guest

  3. Guest

    No, that device creates sound waves by vibrating the plane it's
    attached to. From what I remember the device I'm looking for does not
    not create soundwaves at all but completely bypasses your eardrum and
    somehow "beams" the sound into your brain. It looked simular to a
    regular headset, but you wore it on your temples instead of your ears.
    Sounds crazy doesn't it? I'm just wondering where the technology has
    gone from when I saw the popular science write up on it.
  4. There was something talked about, decades ago. I don't know if
    it's the same thing you saw. But people were talking about being
    able to induce sound directly back in 1972.

    I don't know if there was any truth to it. About twenty years ago,
    I found a book by Harry G. Stine who mentioned something about it.
    I can't recall the title, but it was non-fiction.

  5. Bob Masta

    Bob Masta Guest

    I'm extremely doubtful about this. The auditory system is a
    parallel channel system: The inner ear decomposes the
    sound into constituent frequencies via a sort of mechanical
    spectrum analyzer. The individual frequency channels are
    encoded separately and run in parallel neurons to the rest
    of the auditory system and the brain. If the Popular Science
    device somehow created actual sound waves, the system
    would work normally. There are indeed electrical effects
    on tissue that can create sound directly, but nothing that
    you would want to listen to or tolerate for long periods.

    But direct stimulation of the neurons is not feasible, because
    the gadget would somehow have to analyze the sound (FFT?)
    and then apply each component to the proper target neuron.
    This is what the cochlear prosthesis attempts to do, though
    with only a handful of electrodes it's definitely not "hi fi".
    There are also research projects underway that seek to implant
    electrode arrays at higher "way stations" that the neural signals
    pass through, but they are a long ways from fruition. Part of
    the problem is just figuring out the encoding scheme, since
    each step higher in the processing chain adds additional
    processing. Another part of the problem is locating "tonotopic"
    regions to implant the electrodes, so you can match the
    stimulated electrodes to the results of the spectral analysis.

    My guess is that the Popular Science thing was either
    their typical blus-sky pipe dream, *or* it was a gadget
    that could stimulate the brain directly (via magnetic
    fields, for instance) and create some general auditory
    sensation. You could use such a device to send code,
    but not music. (Possibly speech, with lots of training.
    The earliest cochlear prostheses had only a single
    electrode to stimulate the auditory nerve. The effect
    was that you could hear the cadence of speech, and
    it was helpful in conjunction with lip-reading. Nobody
    ever got to the stage of understanding a telephone
    conversation without seeing the talker, using only a
    single channel.)

    Best regards,

    Bob Masta

    D A Q A R T A
    Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
  6. Tom Biasi

    Tom Biasi Guest

    Maybe it was a bone conduction device.
  7. NO, I suspect it's the "Neurophone". This is what I was referring to
    in an earlier post, and after I posted, I looked up a post of mine when
    a similar question had been asked.

    There's a page about the device here:

    I have no idea whether there's any reality to the device. It seems
    wrapped in too much "they are trying to suppress it" claims.

    THe Harry G. Stine book I mentioned is called "Silicon Gods".

  8. Eric R Snow

    Eric R Snow Guest

    However, there is a patent issued to G. P. Flanagan for this device. I
    did not read the text. But you can go to the USPTO site and search for
    the patent number mentioned in the above link.
  9. Bob Masta

    Bob Masta Guest

    I checked out the site you mentioned.

    I must say that after spending a couple
    of decades involved with hearing research,
    I now see that it was all for nothing.
    I will have to tell my old associates at the
    Kresge Hearing Research Institute at the
    University of Michigan that they have wasted
    their careers on science, when they could
    have been harnessing the limitless powers
    of ESP. What a tragedy that this brilliant
    invention has been so cruelly suppressed.
    I assume that was done by the sinister hearing
    aid cartel, so they could continue their
    control of the market on their way to
    world domination. ;-)

    (Sigh. Maybe some inventions *deserve*
    to be "suppressed"... especially when
    they are blatant scams!)

    Best regards,

    Bob Masta

    D A Q A R T A
    Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis
  10. Trobador

    Trobador Guest

    A magazine add I remember from ~70s had a babe (in yellow attire, IIRC)
    jogging with what seemed to be a towell (curiously yellow as well) around
    her neck. The add was for a speakerless radio. The add said it was supposed
    to vibrate and pass the vibrations to the ear through the bones. Never saw
    that babe again. I think muscle and skin atenuates the vibrations. Let me
    know If you find it or build a working unit, my neighbor's kid likes to
    listen to loud cRAP.

    buena suerte.
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