Nervana, a company founded by medical professionals is set to release an earbud device which will get you high by stimulating your brain into releasing dopamine while you listen to your favourite beats. With music being a known catalyst to feeling a rollercoaster of emotions, it’s perhaps not surprising that we are finally getting such a product.
The earbuds are designed to transmit music as normal, but will simultaneously use a built-in device which is made to deliver a low-power electrical signal through your ear and trigger your vagus nerve. Chronic impairment of the vagus nerve has often been believed to lead to an impairment of dopamine release, the creators behind the Nervana earbuds are hoping that through the nerves stimulation they will be able to achieve a similar effect as that of a vagus nerve stimulator implant, something currently only available through intrusive surgery and usually recommended as treatment for epilepsy, depression, obesity and other dopamine draining or hindering ailments.
Dopamine is a compound which is most commonly associated with exercise and other physical exertion (it’s sex). In a recent interview with Futurism, Ami Brannon, CEO of Nervana, explained the potentially game-changing technology, not only for how we might be listening to music in the future, but also its medical implications.
“We have a device that sends an electrical signal through the ear canal to stimulate the release of dopamine in your brain. There’s an electrical signal that’s paired with music. It follows the beat of the music, and it makes it really pleasant. Through a conductive earbud, it sends a message through the vagus nerve in your ear, which sends a message to the brain to release dopamine, your feel-good neurotransmitter that naturally occurs in the brain.”
The device also seems to not be raising many health concerns, when asked about whether or not there was any danger when it comes to stimulating the vagus nerve repeatedly and when it is not necessary to do so, Ami Brannon had this to say.
“Based on all the literature that’s out there, there’s really no harm. We actually don’t have a device ourselves right now, but the engineers building the devices try them out all the time.”
While the device has not been made publicly available, and only some anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness being made available by a handful of those who have been lucky enough to test the earbuds, we choose to remain optimistic. The earbuds and the device are set to be made available sometime this year, with the price being a cool $299.
A fairly insignificant figure, when the device in question essentially promises to not only give you a feeling of pleasure, but also crank the pleasure gauge all the way up, on any activity which you might be taking part in.
If you are interested in finding out more information on how you can pre-order your own copy of a piece of technology that feels more at home in a Sci-Fi novel, you can head over to the Nervana site using this link.