Neurophone - Real?? I hope so but am afraid not.

Started by Radium September 26, 2006
Hi:

I have read about the neurophone which claims to produce auditory
perception through nerve stimulation. Something to do with electric
signals of certain frequencies being sensed as sound by the brain.

Science proves that temporal bone vibration can be used to cause
auditory pseudohallucinations.

Check out: http://www.priory.com/halluc.htm#pseudo

"Radio-reception. A 35 year old Vietnam combat, veteran (32) started
to complain of depression, headaches, and hearing blurred voices and
music. Skull X-rays showed shrapnel metallic densities in the soft
tissues and cranial bones of the left parieto-occipital region. His
perception of voices and music were matched with stations in the AM
broadcast band, and consistently identified the same station in the
560 Khz range. His radio- reception involved the metal implant diode
rectification of the radio signal, and its bone transmission to the
auditory apparatus. Other cases of broadcast reception due to dental
work have been reported as well."

The above pseudohallucination is no surpise to me and not at all
fascinating.

Cochlear implants stimulate the peripheral auditory nerve-endings in
the cochlea. Electric signals excite these nerve endings. The
neurophone is said to work differently -- by using electric signals on
any nerve in the body. At a specific frequency this is supposed to
stimulate the auditory cortex of the brain. This, according to
Flantech, causes a perception of sound. Isn't this too good to be true,
given the state of today's technology?

Links about neurophone:

1. http://www.neurophone.com/home.htm

2. http://www.worldtrans.org/spir/neuro.html


Regards,

Radium

On 25 Sep 2006 22:06:45 -0700, "Radium" <glucegen1@excite.com> wrote:

>Hi: > >I have read about the neurophone which claims to produce auditory >perception through nerve stimulation. Something to do with electric >signals of certain frequencies being sensed as sound by the brain. > >Science proves that temporal bone vibration can be used to cause >auditory pseudohallucinations. > >Check out: http://www.priory.com/halluc.htm#pseudo > >"Radio-reception. A 35 year old Vietnam combat, veteran (32) started >to complain of depression, headaches, and hearing blurred voices and >music. Skull X-rays showed shrapnel metallic densities in the soft >tissues and cranial bones of the left parieto-occipital region. His >perception of voices and music were matched with stations in the AM >broadcast band, and consistently identified the same station in the >560 Khz range. His radio- reception involved the metal implant diode >rectification of the radio signal, and its bone transmission to the >auditory apparatus. Other cases of broadcast reception due to dental >work have been reported as well." > >The above pseudohallucination is no surpise to me and not at all >fascinating.
>Cochlear implants stimulate the peripheral auditory nerve-endings in >the cochlea. Electric signals excite these nerve endings. The >neurophone is said to work differently -- by using electric signals on >any nerve in the body. At a specific frequency this is supposed to >stimulate the auditory cortex of the brain. This, according to >Flantech, causes a perception of sound. Isn't this too good to be true, >given the state of today's technology? > >Links about neurophone: > >1. http://www.neurophone.com/home.htm > >2. http://www.worldtrans.org/spir/neuro.html >
Thanks for these links. This is a fascinating area for me, since I spent most of my professional career in hearing research. But I think the neurophone is really pseudo-science. Here's why: Hearing is a *parallel channel* system. Each individual frequency that we can resolve is sent from the cochlea on its own individual nerve. There is a very narrow band of frequencies that each nerve will respond to at peak sensitivity, though the band widens out with louder sounds. Nevertheless, the frequency discrimination is all done in the cochlea, by electro-mechanical means. By the time a sound is turned into nerve impulses, you have to look at the whole array of nerves to get a picture of the spectrum of the sound. A single electrode placed anywhere after the cochlea can not provide the sensation of frequency, except in the crudest sense. You'd only perceive the *envelope* of the sound, and you'd think that it was at a frequency corresponding to whatever nerve was stimulated. (There are several thousand nerves from the cochlea to handle full range of frequencies we perceive.) So a gross single electrode is going to sound like "BUZZbuzzbuzzBUZZbuzBUZZBUZZbuzzbuzz" That's what patients of the earliest cochlear implants heard... crude, but a heck of a lot better than nothing. And it turned out it corresponded well with vowel sounds, which are hard to pick up from lip-reading, so that a patient with one of these who could also see the lips of a speaker could read lips *much* better. But it was hopelss for telephone use, for example. The newer multi-electrode designs can stimulate several frequency bands at once. (Even though there are 22 or more electrodes, you get maybe 8 effective ones after the initial testing.) Many patients can indeed learn to use the telephone after practice, but music is pretty lame. So what's going on with the neurophone? I am dubious that it has really helped any patient with cochlear ("nerve") deafness, except as a crude lip-reading aid. There is simply no way to encode frequency individually to all of the thousands of nerves... or even to 2 of them! However, there are some "electrophonic" effects that have been known as curiosities for about 100 years. By proper voltage application to tissue, you can actually make the tissue vibrate, creating regular old acoustic sound which can then be heard by a normal ear. I have experimented with this, and it's pretty fiddly. But anyone who wants to can try this: Get a good bench-type osciallator that can drive a 50 ohm load. (Not sure how important that is, but it worked for me.) Bend up a paper clip and clamp it under the binding post of the hot lead of the output, so the wire is dangling in the air, sorta springy. Then set the level to maybe 10 V or so at frequencies in the 1k-4k range and *gently* stroke the wire with your fingertip in a very quiet room. You may or may not want to touch the ground post at the same time. This whole thing was so unpredictable that I never pursued it farther (nor, apparently, did anyone else!), but it *did* produce occasional faint sound, and yes, it could be heard by skeptical witnesses. Hope this helps! Bob Masta dqatechATdaqartaDOTcom D A Q A R T A Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis www.daqarta.com Home of DaqGen, the FREEWARE signal generator
Radium wrote:
> The above pseudohallucination is no surpise to me and not at all > fascinating.
Your degree of un-surprise is impresssive. Google meucci+telephone+havana for some interesting experiments on electrotherapy that also produced sounds. Angelo Campanella
Bob Masta wrote:
> However, there are some "electrophonic" effects that > have been known as curiosities for about 100 years. > By proper voltage application to tissue, you can actually > make the tissue vibrate, creating regular old acoustic > sound which can then be heard by a normal ear.
At the U. of Rochester around 1980, Rick Razdan (later founded ISCAN) and I played with a crude Neurophone down in the basement of the vision psych department. A Wavetek signal generator fed a rack-mount power op-amp, which fed a few turns wrapped around a TV flyback transformer with floating secondary. The electrodes were copper screen embedded between thin plexiglas with silicone caulk. Tune the generator to the flyback's resonance, then either switch on the Wavetek's internal 1KHz modulator, or pipe some audio into the VCG connector. It worked! With the electrodes clamped to our heads, we could hear very clear sound. But I noticed while clamping the electrode plates to my arm, I could hear the sound coming from the electrodes. By simply touching my fingertips gently to one of the plates, I could hear the sound coming from my fingertips. We turned out the lights and saw a purple glow surrounding our fingertips in contact with the plastic. So the Neurophone is actually a "Kirlian Photography" setup! It's also a "plasma tweeter," since it creates a glow discharge, then creates sound by modulating the amount of wattage feeding that plasma. No doubt the device was injecting plenty of sound directly into the tissues in contact with the electrodes, so the sound would travel around inside. However, I could NOT hear any sound when I clamped the device to my arm and then plugged my ears. If our amp had far more power, perhaps I could have heard the flesh-conducted sound injected into my arm and travelling up my neck to my ears.. When wearing the electrode plates on our ears, I suppose that the sound mostly came from the contact point between our ear tissues and the plastic. It behaved somewhat unexpectedly, since most of the sound was apparently being injected into the flesh of our outer ears, then travelling internally to our eardrums or perhaps directly to the cochlea, rather than travelling through the air path. No matter how the plates were positioned, the sound seemed to be coming from the same direction. By touching the plate to any part of our ears, we heard the same clear loud audio signal. Flesh conduction is weird. Underwater noises, with your body being the "water." But best of all, we got to watch each other with 30,000V electrodes strapped to our heads! ((((((((((((((((((((((( ( ( (o) ) ) ))))))))))))))))))))))) William J. Beaty http://staff.washington.edu/wbeaty/ Research Engineer UW Chem Dept, Bagley Hall RM74 beaty@chemwashingtonedu Box 351700, Seattle, WA 98195-1700 ph:206-543-6195 fax:206-685-8665
"Bob Masta" <NoSpam@daqarta.com> wrote in message 
news:45192992.3772086@news.sysmatrix.net...
> On 25 Sep 2006 22:06:45 -0700, "Radium" <glucegen1@excite.com> wrote: > >>Hi: >> >>I have read about the neurophone which claims to produce auditory >>perception through nerve stimulation. Something to do with electric >>signals of certain frequencies being sensed as sound by the brain. >> >>Science proves that temporal bone vibration can be used to cause >>auditory pseudohallucinations. >> >>Check out: http://www.priory.com/halluc.htm#pseudo >> >>"Radio-reception. A 35 year old Vietnam combat, veteran (32) started >>to complain of depression, headaches, and hearing blurred voices and >>music. Skull X-rays showed shrapnel metallic densities in the soft >>tissues and cranial bones of the left parieto-occipital region. His >>perception of voices and music were matched with stations in the AM >>broadcast band, and consistently identified the same station in the >>560 Khz range. His radio- reception involved the metal implant diode >>rectification of the radio signal, and its bone transmission to the >>auditory apparatus. Other cases of broadcast reception due to dental >>work have been reported as well." >> >>The above pseudohallucination is no surpise to me and not at all >>fascinating. > >>Cochlear implants stimulate the peripheral auditory nerve-endings in >>the cochlea. Electric signals excite these nerve endings. The >>neurophone is said to work differently -- by using electric signals on >>any nerve in the body. At a specific frequency this is supposed to >>stimulate the auditory cortex of the brain. This, according to >>Flantech, causes a perception of sound. Isn't this too good to be true, >>given the state of today's technology? >> >>Links about neurophone: >> >>1. http://www.neurophone.com/home.htm >> >>2. http://www.worldtrans.org/spir/neuro.html >> > > Thanks for these links. This is a fascinating area for > me, since I spent most of my professional career in > hearing research. But I think the neurophone is > really pseudo-science. Here's why: > > Hearing is a *parallel channel* system. Each > individual frequency that we can resolve is > sent from the cochlea on its own individual nerve. > There is a very narrow band of frequencies that > each nerve will respond to at peak sensitivity, > though the band widens out with louder sounds. > > Nevertheless, the frequency discrimination is all > done in the cochlea, by electro-mechanical means. > By the time a sound is turned into nerve impulses, > you have to look at the whole array of nerves to > get a picture of the spectrum of the sound. > > A single electrode placed anywhere after the cochlea > can not provide the sensation of frequency, except > in the crudest sense. You'd only perceive the *envelope* > of the sound, and you'd think that it was at a frequency > corresponding to whatever nerve was stimulated. > (There are several thousand nerves from the cochlea > to handle full range of frequencies we perceive.) > > So a gross single electrode is going to sound like > "BUZZbuzzbuzzBUZZbuzBUZZBUZZbuzzbuzz" > That's what patients of the earliest cochlear implants > heard... crude, but a heck of a lot better than nothing. > And it turned out it corresponded well with vowel sounds, > which are hard to pick up from lip-reading, so that a > patient with one of these who could also see the lips > of a speaker could read lips *much* better. But it was > hopelss for telephone use, for example. > > The newer multi-electrode designs can stimulate several > frequency bands at once. (Even though there are 22 > or more electrodes, you get maybe 8 effective ones after > the initial testing.) Many patients can indeed learn to use > the telephone after practice, but music is pretty lame. > > So what's going on with the neurophone? I am dubious > that it has really helped any patient with cochlear ("nerve") > deafness, except as a crude lip-reading aid. There is > simply no way to encode frequency individually to all > of the thousands of nerves... or even to 2 of them! > > However, there are some "electrophonic" effects that > have been known as curiosities for about 100 years. > By proper voltage application to tissue, you can actually > make the tissue vibrate, creating regular old acoustic > sound which can then be heard by a normal ear. > > I have experimented with this, and it's pretty fiddly. > But anyone who wants to can try this: Get a good > bench-type osciallator that can drive a 50 ohm load. > (Not sure how important that is, but it worked for me.) > Bend up a paper clip and clamp it under the binding > post of the hot lead of the output, so the wire is > dangling in the air, sorta springy. Then set the level > to maybe 10 V or so at frequencies in the 1k-4k > range and *gently* stroke the wire with your fingertip > in a very quiet room. You may or may not want to > touch the ground post at the same time. This whole > thing was so unpredictable that I never pursued it > farther (nor, apparently, did anyone else!), but it > *did* produce occasional faint sound, and yes, it > could be heard by skeptical witnesses. > > Hope this helps! > >
I remember seeing this thing on the TV program "I've Got a Secret" in the late fifties or early sixties. (I saw a rerun of that show on the Game networt a couple of years ago). I remember there were arguments in the press at the time as to where it was really transmitting via RF or merely audio transmitted by bone conduction. As best I remember, there were well-known experts on both sides of the argument. Also, Lucille Ball claimed to have heard a picked up a radio broadcast on a filling while passing by a station after a visit from her dentist.
On Tue, 26 Sep 2006 23:06:00 -0500, "Mike Rieves" <mriev@hotspam.com>
wrote:

>
>> > I remember seeing this thing on the TV program "I've Got a Secret" in the >late fifties or early sixties. (I saw a rerun of that show on the Game >networt a couple of years ago). I remember there were arguments in the press >at the time as to where it was really transmitting via RF or merely audio >transmitted by bone conduction. As best I remember, there were well-known >experts on both sides of the argument. > Also, Lucille Ball claimed to have heard a picked up a radio broadcast on >a filling while passing by a station after a visit from her dentist. >
That Lucille Ball story has also been pretty roundly criticized, and there isn't a shred of documentation in support of it. (She was supposed to have intercepted code from a Japanese spy transmitter, leading to the arrest of the spy. But no records of that arrest have ever been found.) I believe all the "dental radio" stories are in the "urban legend" category. At least, I have never been able to validate one. It's always something we've just "heard about" (so to speak!). There are several reasons why dental radio is unlikely, not the least of which is that the supposed "diode" from the fillings is without an antenna, in an enclosure made of a pretty good conductor (saltwater, basically). So the best you could possibly hope for would be a few microvolts *in your tooth*. Now, even assuming this signal could get the nerve beneath it to fire, and even considering that some of those nerves may leak signals into the auditory nerve, you'd still be left with the single-channel problem: The best you could *possibly* hope for would be a string of buzzes. On the other hand, it is much more plausible that these cases (if any real ones exist) are auditory hallucinations, possibly stimulated by real acoustic noise from TMJ (tempro-mandibular joint) problems, or slightly occluded blood vessels. Or even stimulated by tinnitus, which may or may not be acoustic but in some people can be a broadband effect unlike the more usual "riinging in the ears". Broadband noise can definitely produce "radio station" illusions under the proper conditions, and I hope to write a paper decribing this in detail in the near future. Best regards, by Bob Masta dqatechATdaqartaDOTcom D A Q A R T A Data AcQuisition And Real-Time Analysis www.daqarta.com Home of DaqGen, the FREEWARE signal generator
"Bob Masta" <NoSpam@daqarta.com> wrote in message 
news:451a82e6.5657506@news.sysmatrix.net...
> On Tue, 26 Sep 2006 23:06:00 -0500, "Mike Rieves" <mriev@hotspam.com> > wrote: > >> > >>> >> I remember seeing this thing on the TV program "I've Got a Secret" in >> the >>late fifties or early sixties. (I saw a rerun of that show on the Game >>networt a couple of years ago). I remember there were arguments in the >>press >>at the time as to where it was really transmitting via RF or merely audio >>transmitted by bone conduction. As best I remember, there were well-known >>experts on both sides of the argument. >> Also, Lucille Ball claimed to have heard a picked up a radio broadcast >> on >>a filling while passing by a station after a visit from her dentist. >> > > That Lucille Ball story has also been pretty roundly criticized, and > there isn't a shred of documentation in support of it. (She was > supposed to have intercepted code from a Japanese spy transmitter, > leading to the arrest of the spy. But no records of that arrest have > ever been found.)
It's remotely possible that the arrest was kept confidential for security reasons, however I agree that the story is highly unlikely to have been true. The TV show "Mythbusters" took this one on in episode 4, the result: myth busted!
> I believe all the "dental radio" stories are in the "urban legend" > category. At least, I have never been able to validate one. > It's always something we've just "heard about" (so to speak!).
I agree.
> There are several reasons why dental radio is unlikely, not the > least of which is that the supposed "diode" from the fillings is > without an antenna, in an enclosure made of a pretty good > conductor (saltwater, basically). So the best you could possibly > hope for would be a few microvolts *in your tooth*. Now, even > assuming this signal could get the nerve beneath it to fire, > and even considering that some of those nerves may leak > signals into the auditory nerve, you'd still be left with the > single-channel problem: The best you could *possibly* hope > for would be a string of buzzes. > > On the other hand, it is much more plausible that these cases > (if any real ones exist) are auditory hallucinations, possibly > stimulated by real acoustic noise from TMJ (tempro-mandibular > joint) problems, or slightly occluded blood vessels. Or even > stimulated by tinnitus, which may or may not be acoustic but > in some people can be a broadband effect unlike the more > usual "riinging in the ears". Broadband noise can definitely > produce "radio station" illusions under the proper conditions, > and I hope to write a paper decribing this in detail in the near > future.
I agree here too. The Neurophone however, is a totally different animal. I notice that at www.neurophone.com they are talking about ultrasonic transmission, rather than RF transmission, which I think may be plausible, though I'm far from an expert on the subject.
In article <88zSg.25487$eW5.18936@bignews5.bellsouth.net>
"Mike Rieves" <mriev@hotspam.com> wrote:

> snip.....snip
> I'm far from an expert on the subject.
You're far from an expert on any subject. BTW, how's your course on dBs going. Also, when do you expect to finish your treatise on Doppler distortion?
On Mon, 25 Sep 2006 22:06:45 -0700, Radium wrote:

> I have read about the neurophone which claims to produce auditory > perception through nerve stimulation. Something to do with electric > signals of certain frequencies being sensed as sound by the brain.
It should be trivially simple to test this - just get some deaf volunteers, and try it! Good Luck! Rich
Rich Grise wrote:
> On Mon, 25 Sep 2006 22:06:45 -0700, Radium wrote: > > > I have read about the neurophone which claims to produce auditory > > perception through nerve stimulation. Something to do with electric > > signals of certain frequencies being sensed as sound by the brain. > > It should be trivially simple to test this - just get some deaf > volunteers, and try it! > > Good Luck! > Rich
Exactly! What makes me skeptical about Neurophone is it is not used on deaf volunteers. Makes me think that the Neurophone is too good to be true. Yet I still find it so interesting.