Anna Hunt, Contributing Writer
Can you imagine being able to charge your cell phone just by walking, or power your iPod by eating and moving your jaw? No longer a matter of science fiction, scientists have discovered how to harness the energy that the human ear creates during movements, paving the way for the creation of walking human batteries.
An auditory neuroscientist at Harvard University Medical School in Boston, Tina Stankovic, has developed a technique that may allow the human ear to power electronic implants in the brain and inner ear, or cochlea. Stankovic was able to insert a prototype into an ear of a guinea pig, which was able to power a small radio transmitter.
“Nerve cells use the movement of positively charged sodium ions and negatively charged potassium ions across a membrane to create an electrochemical gradient that drives neural signals. Some cells in the cochlear have the same kind of gradient, which is used to convert the mechanical force of the vibrating eardrum into electrical signals that the brain can understand.
“We have known about DC potential in the human ear for 60 years but no one has attempted to harness it,” Stankovic says.” – NewScientist
While the specter of transhumanism, a radical technological transformation of the human race, is justifiably alarming to many, should we be apprehensive about augmenting the body with new medical inventions?
To be fair, we must not overlook or undermine inventions such as the pacemaker, a device that aids patients who suffer from heart rhythm disturbances, and that has positively affected millions, with a whopping 700,000 patients worldwide each year undergoing the implantation of a pacemaker or a defibrillator.
Similarly to the cochlear energy cell, researchers at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Michigan have developed a device that can generate electricity using the beating heart. A pacemaker powered by the heart would allow patients to bypass the regular operations needed to replace old batteries.
“Lead author Dr. Amin Karami said it could be a promising technological solution for pacemakers, because they require only small amounts of power to operate. At present the implanted devices, which send electrical impulses into the heart to help maintain a normal heartbeat, have to be replaced every five to seven years when their batteries run out. Dr. Karami said: ‘Many of the patients are children who live with pacemakers for many years. You can imagine how many operations they are spared if this new technology is implemented.’” – MailOnline
Microchip implants are another technological invention that is being used in medical applications. For example, the company MicroCHIPS, Inc. has developed a microchip that is filled with multiple individual doses of medication, with a goal to help reduce discomfort of treatments requiring daily shots.
“A new wirelessly controlled microchip, implanted under the skin, can safely and reliably give osteoporosis patients the daily dose of a drug that they need for at least 20 days in a row.” – Scientific American
Pharmaceutical companies have revealed that they are interested in developing microchips that will reside in the brain which “treats disease through electrical signalling in the brain and elsewhere.” – (source).
Scientists are also working on accessing an animal’s memory, artificial limbs powered by electricity and a person’s thoughts, and brain caps that allow thoughts to be downloaded to a computer. At what point is it too much??
“Australian Lucy McRae, the first self-styled “body architect,” is working with biologist Sheref Mansy on a “swallowable parfum.” Once absorbed, the “digestible scented capsule” will transform skin into an atomizer, McRae explains in a press release.” – Maclean’s
Concerns about technological implants range from potential for abuse of superhuman powers to the implementation of the biblical ‘mark of the beast’ chip that really is a global ID system to track all human beings and all monetary activities. There is also justifiable concern for personal privacy and the further disruption of the body’s natural electro-magnetic patterns, if we implant ourselves with tiny electrical devices.
Have you even wished you could bottle up a child’s energy? Perhaps with inventions such as Stankovic’s and Dr. Karami’s, we’ll soon live in a world where this is possible, but in what ways might we come to regret letting this genie out if its bottle?
Certain cultures and individuals have developed strong beliefs against surgery, implants, and amputations, and have no interest in being augmented or artificially enhanced. For example, music legend Bob Marley, who died of cancer in 1981, refused to have his toe amputated at an early stage of his disease because of his Rastafarian beliefs that the body must be whole and that amputation would be a sin. “Rasta no abide amputation. I don’t allow a mon ta be dismantled.” (Catch a Fire, Timothy White)
So, while the suspicious in our society watch the technologically curious develop amazing things like human beings that act as batteries, the question ultimately will be, at what point do these technologies become ‘non-voluntary’, and declared compulsory? Such exciting advances in science certainly introduce a great deal of possibility for our already complex society.
About the Author
Anna Hunt is a writer and entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in research and editorial writing. She and her husband run a preparedness e-store outlet at www.offgridoutpost.com, offering GMO-free storable food and emergency kits. Anna is also a certified Hatha yoga instructor. She enjoys raising her children and being a voice for optimal human health and wellness. Read more of her excellent articles here.
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