Implanted Wireless Headphones

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.



  • Bone conduction is totally fine!
  • @NuclearFantasies, any recommendations?
  • edited 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.
  • As usual, the problem seems to be power.
  • edited 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?
  • edited 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.

  • @ShankT, I'm very interested in your project, are the details public?
  • edited 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 :-)
  • edited 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.
  • @NuclearFantasies, awesome. We need to figure out batteries :)
  • I'm wondering if there are suitable batteries small enough to go into a tooth.
  • edited May 2014
    Would those last long enough, do you think? What kind of custom design do you have in mind?
  • @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?
  • edited May 2014
    Come to think of it, aren't passive radio receivers already a thing...?

  • I think I might just wait a bit longer, until the power problem is solved.
  • 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?
  • edited May 2014
    I basically want just the implant part of this:

    But with a wireless link to it, and without the magnet. Thoughts?
  • @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.
  • edited 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.
  • edited May 2014
    For everyone's viewing pleasure:

    @Cassox, would you mind elaborating more on your thoughts on DIY-ing it?
  • edited May 2014
    @NuclearFantasies: Interesting, that's also a transdermal; I wonder if that makes a difference.
  • 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?
  • edited 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.
  • @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.
  • 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.
  • @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.
  • This seems relevant and interesting:
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