HD, so what? *LD Sound*

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by LERsince1991, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. LERsince1991 macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    Ok so I couldn't sleep and I had one of those creativity spikes and came up with 3 ideas/concepts. I will share only one of them today though :p

    Ok so for people that don't want to think 'out-the-box' as it is turn away now, everyone else put on your thinking caps; Please enjoy and feedback!

    Well in short the idea is to enhance the way us humans hear sound.
    Enhance meaning having a Limitless definition of sound!

    The 'bog standard human' can hear only what the ear organ allows the brain to hear. What if I was able to replace that organ or ear drum and hypothetically speaking 're-wire' the nerves behind it.

    Ok to recap that bit: A device could be fitted into someones ear replacing the ear as an organ, yes you read that right.

    Instead it would allow a direct connection between the human brain's sound processing system -> through the connection of a small device -> through a processing/decoder/coder unit -> through an input device such as an MP3 player.

    What that you say? So I'll be def then?... WRONG!
    This device would also have the top of the range micro-mic built in replicating the ear drum.

    This would also have other benefits such as it would allow complete silence even on the busiest of days in the middle of London. Turn your mic off or on low and turn on your MP3 player.

    I do realize that there are some small issues to resolve though:

    - The signals that a human brain processes sound as are not very well know, this would need to be researched.
    - It is dangerous, but would be a hell of a feature once it's done right.
    - The hardware would need to be very small yet powerful

    I don't have any sketches at the moment on my Macbook, its 3am and I couldn't sleep so this is what I'm doing instead. I have done a few sketches in my sketchbook but I may get round to doing some visualizations soon.

    What do people think then?
  2. runebinder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2009
    Nottingham, UK
    Lol, interesting idea. My reservations on this would be signals sent to the device via external sources. Imagine if you will a firm like MacDonalds was able to hack in and repeat adverts for them over and over.

    Or someone is able to hack in and make you listen to music they want you to hear! Would be worse than the chavs on the bus with their tinny rubbish music blearing out of their mobiles (other UK members will know what I'm talking about).
  3. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    A bit nutty.

    Old. Been done before. =p

    Ever heard of noise cancelling headphones? Or passive headphones used by DJs that minimizes external sound.
  4. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    Cool. Then we can replace our eyes with miniature cameras, our arms with hydraulic ones, and our legs with some sort of tread arrangement. Oh, and may as well install a bionic heart and lungs, too, just because.

    I'd love to be a cyborg... wouldn't you?
  5. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    YEH! Thats the next idea :p

    But does anyone actually know whether we would be able to hear higher and lower frequencies and with infinite definition of quality if this was real?

    How realistic would it be to 'wire' the nerves up and send signals through to the brain. The ear drum is just there for convert sound waves into an electronic signal.
  6. pooky macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2003
    Ok, let's ignore for a minute all the reasons why this won't be possible for a long, long time (if ever). Yes, you could conceivably convert a high or low frequency into something the brain could perceive as sound, either by compressing it into the range that we are used to hearing or via a lengthy training process. Think of how technology-assisted humans "see" infrared light - we do it by converting it into visible light, because that's how our brains are used to interpreting it. Something similar would have to happen here.

    Your impression of the ear drum is not quite right. The ear drum absorbs vibrations from the air (collected by the external structure of the ear) and then transmits them to the bones of the inner ear. These bones then reproduce the sound inside a fluid in your ear. The inside of your ear is lined with hairs that are sensitive to the vibrations in this fluid; different types of hair are sensitive to different frequencies. There are literally millions of these hairs. When one of them gets stimulated, it produces an electrical signal which is relayed to the brain via the nervous system. For your idea to work, you would have to replace literally every one of these hairs with a microscopic wire - we're talking on the order of 1 micrometer diameter. You would need a very sophisticated computer capable of deciding which frequencies to play (and thus which nerves to stimulate) and also how many of the thousands of wires at a given frequency to stimulate (in order to control the loudness of the sound).

    All of that would have to be able to survive a very harsh environment without corrosion. It would have to survive not inconsiderable mechanical stresses without breaking. Otherwise the fidelity of your audio system would rapidly degrade, and you'd be needing a new system in a few months.
  7. The SpinDoctor macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2008
  8. chrmjenkins macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2007
    Why would you want to hear past 20 Khz? Our brains aren't wired to process sound information that high in frequency. Perhaps you could make us hear it, but you couldn't force the brain to get anything useful out of it. It would just be extremely irritating nonsense.
  9. theblueone macrumors member

    Aug 5, 2007
    OP, I suggest you read "The Singularity Is Near," by Ray Kurzweil.
  10. cdcastillo macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2007
    The cesspit of civilization
    No sir, it's the other way around, the ear only hear what the brain knows. The brain needs to learn to recognize something in order not to ignore it, then we can hear it. Kind of like learning music.

    See, you have a really great idea, however it is not feasible. Why?, you ask, I'll try to tell you. There could not be a limitless definition of sound since there is a LIMITED number of neurons that interpret sound, and a limited number of "wire" (axons) that transport the electrical signals to the part of the brain in charge of interpreting it. Even if you succed in replacing the limited number of mechanoelectric transducers (the hairy cells pooky spoke about), there still is a limit on the number of lanes in the highway from the ear to the brain. And don't even think of adding more lanes, because the ones that are already in place have very specific interconnections with other systems and centers in the CNS, you will then be talking about major neurosurgery, un-needed messy procedures just to listen to an iPod whitout buying a noise-cancelling pair of headphones.

    I tried to simplify this, I'm not sure if I've succeded.

    Wrong again sir, we DO know all about it. Go read a neurology or physiology text book.

    Kinda like the one you've already have, called the middle and internal ear to convert mechanical energy (a.k.a. soundwaves) to electrical energy (measured in microvolts) that the brain interprets as sounds? ... or the most modern aid hearing implements that go implanted on the ear when for whatever reason some people can't hear a thing?
  11. chrmjenkins macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2007
    ^ Thanks for providing the long version of my post :cool:
  12. JesterJJZ macrumors 68020


    Jul 21, 2004
    Include a toggle switch for being able to use my own hearing and I'm sold.

    Up next..."Brain Screen...turn off your eyes and enter a world of wonder!"
  13. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I don't think most neuroscientists would claim we know all about it... but the OP might want to read about actual existing devices that do this, and what their limitations are....
  14. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003
    Been itching to mod my body since I got that penile implant. This would be awesome. Should I buy a Rev. A?
  15. r.j.s Moderator emeritus


    Mar 7, 2007
    That's not what that itch is ...
  16. LERsince1991 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2008
    Thanks for everyone's replies and knowledge. It's really helped, unfortunately I haven't got time to read any books atm because of all my work I need to do but maybe one day in the holidays I will be able to get them. I had a project once where I had to try and improve the human body and re-design everything... Not for a course, but because I wanted to.

    In short the human body is amazing but can be improved... Although not by much unless you are talking about stupid things like adding arms and stuff. The processes that the body does could be improved but I had no idea how clever everything was. I just want to improve people, I will invent cyborgs in the future :p

    If your interested my latest projects are my designers desk (near complete) and my newest :D 're-designing my school for minimal cost'. I am at college and my head principle is paying for the steel work on my desk design for product design course and in return im helping him re-design the school... How good is THAT! :D

Share This Page