Anna Hunt/Activist Post
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.