Implanted Wireless Headphones
  • drewdrew May 2014
    So, I've come to the conclusion that I'd really like to be able to exploit the fact that my ears have a large number of sensitive mechanoreceptors. I've been working on a bunch of software, such as my WiseStream app, and am sure that audio is a great way of getting data into our brains.

    In my testing, I've just been using Bluetooh headsets, but I'd really like something more permanent. Hearing aids basically do what I want, I think, but cost thousands of dollars. I want to do this grinder-style.

    Rich's ear magnets are great, though the fidelity could be better and the coil is external.

  • Are you looking at bone-conduction, or traditional air disruption?  Bone conduction is definitely possible in this area (a London team designed a dental implant for these purposes back in 2002 actually), and would be a hell of a lot easier to deal with than having an actual speaker implanted.  I'd definitely be interested in working on it if you could post more details about specifics.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    Bone conduction is totally fine!
  • Ok, well  that makes things a hell of a lot simpler.  I'd recommend experimenting with some commercially available bone conduction headphones, and see what you can do with those.  They might be a decent starting point for parts.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    @NuclearFantasies, any recommendations?
  • @drew Honestly, start with the cheapest you can find.  Those are usually the simplest ones, and easiest to modify.  I can't really recommend any specifics, because I haven't used many.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    This might be a totally stupid idea, but I'd like to look into whether it's reasonable to build a bone-conduction orthodontics device. A nice pair of lingual braces, maybe?

    With a retainer for recharging?

    I'm going to look into that dental implant, @NuclerFantasies.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    As usual, the problem seems to be power.
  • @drew I think you're really on to something with the retainer idea actually.  Something that has a battery life of a day or so, with an over-night retainer might take away a lot of the inconvenience of charging.  Also, batteries can definitely be done in a way similar to what grindhouse wetware has done.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    Are you thinking a retainer that can both inductively charge and inductively be charged?

    How are retainers even made, anyway?

    Also, what do you mean by the way Grindhouse is doing batteries?
  • ShankTShankT May 2014
    @drew I'm working on a very similar project and here are my initial thoughts.

    Power- Watch this company closely. They have not released their product yet, but it has great potential. I have spoken with their R&D department to get a hold of a couple of the modules with no success.

    Test for almost free - I would go with a transducer rather than a radio shack buzzer though. You can find a transducer with about a 7 mm diameter online.

    Your orthodontics device aside, there are two "good" places for bone conduction-- the front of the ear and the bony protrusion behind it. I will favor the bone behind the ear-- mainly for discretion (I work in a corporate environment that would not welcome this).

    The problem that I am now working through is the wiring.

    Hope this helps.

  • drewdrew May 2014
    @ShankT, I'm very interested in your project, are the details public?
  • ShankTShankT May 2014
    @drew Unfortunately I don't have anything posted on this yet, but will be happy to share when I have enough solid information posted to be useful to you.

    There is nothing new in building bone induction audio, so I think the main challenge is to bioproof the setup.

    A primary goal on my part is to have it be discreet... making it necessary to distribute or place the electronics piece below the neckline. Without this requirement, you may be able to pull it off with a behind-the-ear implant and no wiring. 

    Of course, you'd have to have all your hats custom made after that point :-)
  • @drew I really just meant using inductive charging is all.  And I'm pretty sure retainers are made by molding silicone over a dental impression, so running wires through that could certainly be possible.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    @ShankT, great, I look forward to it!

    Yeah, actually, having it be discreet is actually somewhat important to me, too. I'm all for spearheading the future, but I'd like to have the option of keeping my pursuits secret.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    @NuclearFantasies, awesome. We need to figure out batteries :)
  • drewdrew May 2014
    I'm wondering if there are suitable batteries small enough to go into a tooth.
  • Well, rechargeable button cells can get fairly small, but I'm not sure they can get as small as would be needed here. We might be looking at a custom design here when it comes to power.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    Would those last long enough, do you think? What kind of custom design do you have in mind?
  • Honestly, I'm at a bit of a loss on how this would work power-wise.  Maybe I'm over-estimating how much power would be needed for the vibrator motor and electronics, but it does seem a bit high.  I did start looking into how cochlear implants are done however, and they seem to be transdermal in nature (which could potentially solve the power storage issue since the battery could be external).

    However, I did locate the team that designed the dental implant.  It's two people named James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau.  Apparently they're still designing things, so it might be feasible to contact them directly.  Hell, they might even send us some info on what they found, given the inherently open-source nature of what all of us do here.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    @NuclearFantasies, I took a look at that page:
    A modified mobile telephone or dedicated device is used to receive the
    long-range signal. [...] The device then transmits a low frequency signal
    which energises the dormant receiver (in the tooth) by magnetic near
    field effects. A transducer then converts this signal into low amplitude
    vibrations. Sound is then received into the inner ear through bone
    Sounds like their concept uses induction. Holding a magnet-finger against my front teeth and a coil with an amp near my nose lets me hear nicely.

    What's the range of induction-powered things?
  • drewdrew May 2014
    Come to think of it, aren't passive radio receivers already a thing...?

  • drewdrew May 2014
    I think I might just wait a bit longer, until the power problem is solved.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    Strike that. I just did something awesome.

    Wearing headphones connected to my Elektrosluch 2, and playing music through from my computer through my "Spy Coil", I can hear it even if they're separated by a distance equivalent to my height, nearly six feet.

    So cool.

    If I could power a tiny wireless speaker this way, I'd be so good.

    Maybe a skull implant? Like these, but entirely subdermal:

    Anyone have any thoughts?
  • drewdrew May 2014
    I basically want just the implant part of this:

    But with a wireless link to it, and without the magnet. Thoughts?
  • Well, that's a hell of a lot more plausible than my stupid "drill into your jaw and see what happens" idea.  It looks difficult as all hell, but there's at least medical science to back it up.  In short, yeah it looks like a challenging but at least somewhat doable alternative to dental fuckery.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    @NuclearFantasies, thanks! You got me started with looking at bone conduction, so thanks for that, too.

    Looks like power is still going to be the biggest problem. As usual. Damn.
  • Just thought I'd put this here (it looks like a good thing to base this off of )

    Abutment implant
  • drewdrew May 2014
    @NuclearFantasies, Currently, I'm thinking it'll be necessary to include a battery that can be charged with induction.

    Osseointegration looks like it's well-studied. I wonder how small of a battery I can get. It's basically just a Bluetooth bone-conduction headset, implanted into the skull.

    Another idea is to use the induction piece to communicate with the implant and tell it when it's okay to pair with other devices, etc. The best would be if I could talk to it with just NFC.

    EDIT: So, this thing looks neat:

    If I could fit a battery in there, I think we'd be golden. I need to figure out the pros and cons of that method compared to anchoring it to the bone:

    • Power requirement differences?
    • Would I even be able to find a professional willing to take a drill to my skull? Is there a snowball's chance in hell of doing it safely grinder-style?
    • Which one is more biosafe?

    I'm code-naming the project Soundborg.

    Also, thinking about power, I've heard Bluetooth chips drain batteries like nobody's business. I'm open to making a wearable (a pendant, maybe?) with a larger battery that could pair with Bluetooth devices and forward the audio to the implant via FM radio or something, if it would keep the power requirements for the implant itself down.

    I'm really into the idea of bone-anchoring. The stability it offers seems meaningful to me.

  • So, it turns out the surgery for bone anchored hearing aides (whilst definitely out of the question for any of us idiots) is surprisingly simple.  It takes about 10 minutes, and has an initial healing period of about a week.  And from the look of it, the only reason the implant costs a lot is that it's proprietary and has microphones on the clip-in bit (something we wont need).
  • That is interesting, but isn't there that whole thing about doctors not performing surgeries unless there is a medical need? How would one go about getting that done? Would body mod artists be the place to go for such a seemingly touchy thing?

  • CassoxCassox May 2014
    Nah. You'd have to go overseas to have an MD do such a a thing. Or DIY. Not really advised as infection in a bone is a terribly bad thing... especially so close to the CNS.
  • @Cassox Might it be possible to do with standard Transdermals, possibly of the Samppa Von Cyborg variety?  It would (as far as I can tell) at the very least minimize the distance between the vibration source and the Os Temporal.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    For everyone's viewing pleasure:

    @Cassox, would you mind elaborating more on your thoughts on DIY-ing it?
  • @drew

    This technique seems much simpler, as it does not require soft tissue reduction.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    @NuclearFantasies: Interesting, that's also a transdermal; I wonder if that makes a difference.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    Okay, so, here's the Baha® 4 Attract:
    The implant (BI300, far left) gets screwed into the temporal bone, and then has the internal magnet (BIM400) attached to it.

    The sound processor (far right) is, as far as I'm concerned, unnecessary; this is an augment, not a repair.

    My plan is to create a BI300-compatible replacement for the BIM400 that contains a battery, induction charging coil, wireless audio receiver, and PZT (piezoelectric transducer). Then, I'll acquire a BI300 and find a surgeon.

    Thoughts? Criticisms? Ideas on where to obtain a BI300 and the specs for the BIM400?
  • @drew Why go with the commercial device?  It's unbelievably expensive, and mostly due to it's proprietary nature.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    @NuclearFantasies, I'm definitely open to other options, including building our own bone-implant with 3D-printed titanium.

    EDIT: Surgery Quick Start Guide:

    Also, (according to the BIM400 is 27mm in diameter and has a depth of 2.4mm.
  • rpykarpyka May 2014
    @drew: To build on your idea of doing something with a tooth...

    I recently needed to get a dental implant, and had the initial work done not along ago. I spoke with my dentist today, about it, and we are going to see if it is possible to work a magnet into the abutment/screw part of the final implant. There really isn't a whole ton of room to work with, while keeping the implant safe to use as a tooth, which is why the focus is just on getting a good magnet in, then I could use an external coil.

    Once we start getting towards the point where we actually get the abutment made, she will be putting me in touch with the lab that actually makes the abutment to figure out the magnet thing with them. I'm hoping by that time I will be able to start getting my hands on some of the titanium plated magnets being developed.

    Also, a few initial tests pressing magnets against the protective cap of the implant, and the skull behind my ear, gave me far better results behind the ear, but I was still able to hear some stuff through the implant, so it may not be as good, but it's worth a shot if I'm already getting a metal peg in my jaw...

    Anyway, the whole healing/implant process takes a few months, and the next step is probably at least a month out, but if people are interested in getting updates I can post those when the time comes.
  • glimsglims May 2014
    you should totally do updates on that. start a new thread an just fill it with what happens. that sounds quite cool :)

  • There's a similar device that has a stripe of hydroxyapatite near the top. The bone and skin grow into it, thus sealing the wound. Then the soun dprocessor clipped into it loosely (so as to not injure you if you fell). This might be better in the long run in case there are other projects you want to do.
  • kjwxkjwx May 2014
    @rypka: Have you looked at the Sound Bite hearing aid? You might be able to improve the effect with a two-part design like this.
  • drewdrew May 2014
    This seems relevant and interesting:
  • ShankTShankT May 2014
    @drew: I think you're right to go down the medical track on this one.

    There's not much value in re-inventing this. The medical companies have a financial stake in the mod and the resources to continually develop-- smaller and better. Competition in the market will drive the price down and quality up.

    That is... unless you can innovate it in a way that they're not thinking of... in that case, patent, package and present it to make some money and change the world a little.

    I gave up on my design after seeing what is being done with hearing aids-- the question for me now is how to save up the money for the procedure.
  • FrankFrank June 2014

    Yo, just adding some news to this thread. You’ll be pleased
    to hear that Apple have created a new Bluetooth codec that uses drastically less
    power than normal Bluetooth. As in, a 100 mAh hearing aid battery can stream 18
    hours a day for a week on this protocol.

    All the big six manufacturers of hearing aids are bringing
    out devices that use this system this year, the ReSound Linx are already on the
    market, as are the Starkey Halo. These are being touted as the “next generation”
    of hearing aids and they are. Search for “made for iPhone” hearing aids. This is
    also the system I’m using for my hearing hack.

    The grinder community in general should be stoked by this – it’s
    a very low power, high bandwidth protocol that will have lots of applications
    for connecting tiny devices to smartphones and other networked machines. Why
    Apple want to build such a thing, well, that’s for you to speculate.

  • drewdrew June 2014

    That's terrific news! Do you have any more information on this codec?
  • About the wires you could do a transdermal implant so that it goes out of you somewhere for power. Not sure how it would work though. But there is a thing called wireless charging you could put it in headphones and sleep with it on to charge it.
  • drewdrew June 2014

    I'd like to avoid transdermals, as they require regular cleaning and other maintenance, and feel more dangerous.

    Inductive charging, though? Definitely :)
  • TiakTiak June 2014
    So this thread has been going on for a while, but, strangely enough, nobody has mentioned the similar thing that DirectorX did last year.

    I don't know that he ever updated on how the implant has lasted, but I don't see why it would reject in the tragus any more than in the finger.
  • drewdrew June 2014

    Hey, actually, I mentioned them in the first post. The biggest issues are that sound quality is less-than-awesome, and that the coil is external and you can't get great "reception" unless you hold the coil really close.

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