Non-Audible Sound Implant or Haptic


I am thinking of making a device that detects non-audible sound [<20 Hz, >20000 Hz] and presents it in a way a human could experience. I was thinking of making a wearable, so that a microphone detects the sounds and a magnet or something vibrates against the skin. This way I could hear things most people couldn't, and with much better volume. Things like footsteps, machinery, and even animals would be more apparent this way. New music I write could feature sounds in additional ranges too, which I think would be really cool!

I would probably start with a single device at first, say mounted on the frame of my glasses, but in the future I could use several on different parts of my body to gain directional hearing. 

I don't think I would be able to distinguish timbre this way, or any kind of real perception as to what the sound is/what wavelength it falls in, however. I am open to suggestions on this, as well as any information on similar projects you may have seen; I am still pretty new here.



  • You you want to hear it or feel it?
  • I don't know.

    I am pretty sure putting anything into my ear, as if to change the pitch of sounds around me, would disrupt my normal hearing. If I used small vibrators on my skin, it wouldn't interrupt my normal hearing. If there was a way to hear it though, I'm all ears [pun intended].
  • feed your input data into some bone conducting bluetooth headphones 
  • Pretty much what ightden said make device that will amplify X hz and have it play through some bone conducted headphones. Dicksporting goods, basspro shops, gander mountain, cabelas, and any other outdoor supply sells ear buds (various styles) that tone out sound above a certain level and amply sound below a certain level. I use them for hunting and I can hear foot steps in the woods but won't hear a car on the highway.
  • Thanks for the info! I didn't know they made things like that already.
  • One option would be to use something similar to the bottlenose... If you place an inductor near/over/pointing at a magnet implanted in the tragus, and then send a tone through it like you would a standard piezio speaker, you'll be able to hear the tone pretty clearly.

    I've only been testing out sending basic notes and melodies through this so far so I have no clue how well tone capture > up-pitch > output would do, if something like an arduino cab even /handle/ that... but it would still be another possible interface to go from feeling to hearing :D 
  • If you're talking about pitch shifting, there are already hearing aids that do that. They take a sound and change it to a pitch the user can comprehend. I don't know how much that interferes with regular hearing but I imagine it could get troublesome. Then again your brain is good at filtering out unnecessary data.
    If you shift the pitch to something audible it'll just sound like a different sound. If a phone is emitting 30KHz and you shift it to 15KHz you will just think the phone is making a high-pitch squeal. Which is probably what you're after. If you add another component where a vibrator alerts you that a loud sound is being shifted then you could know that you're hearing something outside the normal range.
    Bone conduction would be nice because it won't block your ear canal but you can still end up with unwanted noise covering up what you normally hear. If that 30KHz phone blasts through at 15KHz you might not hear the sound of a microwave alarm when your popcorn is ready.
  • @birdmachine  I will say it again and again, the magnet in the tragus is not worth pursuing.  Your audio quality is going to be basically nonexistant.

    You state with certainty that "you'll hear it quite clearly" but have you ever actually implanted a magnet in your tragus and tested this for yourself?  I have.  You will be disappointed in the audio quality (and by that I mean the lack thereof)
  • edited September 2016
    Ightden, I'm currently exploring the tragus magnet not as a way to pass standard music or full audio output to, but specific burst of tonal frequency. So far I've had excellent luck using a nearby inductor in place of a large necklace coil.
    I have one in each tragus, and I have tested running basic melodies from an arduino through an inductor as if it were a piezo speaker. And I can hear it quite well! Next step of this specific project is to build the device that will hold the inductor in place and mount the board. Then my first thing I'm trying to build is an app that'll send specific programmed melodies to it based on notifications from my phone. From there, I might explore more with better coil sizes/placements, since that seemed to be the major failure point of many original designs. That and the end goal is different. I'm not looking for loud, high fidelity audio for this.

    So the initial system for the coil and implant didn't work out. But that doesn't mean the location itself isn't worth still exploring. Trying new things and experimenting is a good time :)

    Question is, would that provide enough feedback for the kind of audio we'd want out of this specific project. If you target a specific tone vs trying to process a live feed, a simple tone in tone out approach might be useful. But if you want to capture a range and process it to an up-pitched audio that would need probably the bone conduction approach. (Not to mention, all of the stuff McSTUFF posted regarding our brain's ability to white-noise background sounds)

    There's also the possibility to translate these tones into physical feedback, as well. If the end goal to just to 'experience' these sounds beyond human range, there's no reason we need to stick to just outputting audio :)
  • As a side question would a micro dermal work with the tragus?
  • I was thinking the same thing....
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