Image: Mike Seyfang
One gadget in particular being showcased at this year's CES in Vegas is causing a stir among music websites.
That's because the creators of the audio listening device 'Nervana' claim it can directly activate the pleasure centre of your brain. According to the team behind it, it does this by stimulating the Vagus nerve via an electrical impulse in rhythm with the audio played through the headphones, thus triggering the release of dopamine.
Fact Mag in particular was rather suspicious, implying it was "nonsense" and understandably so. Historically the Vagus nerve has only been stimulated via an implant underneath the skin that is connected directly to the nerve.
Interestingly, it has been used in relation to music but in a completely different way. Various researchers have been treating tinnitus sufferers by attempting to strengthen the neural pathways to help the brain reorganise and stop overcompensating for the lost frequencies - believed to be at the route of tinnitus.
But the co-creator of the device Dr Daniel J. Cartledge says this device can stimulate the nerve from outside the skin via the ear canal without any kind of surgery. This is backed up by Dr. Shaye Moskowitz, who has a Phd in neuroanatomy and neurosurgery: "Having developed a way to so efficiently access the Vagus nerve (and knowing how to stimulate it) without surgery, Nervana found the key to link up to the body’s ‘superhighway’ to the brain".
If this is the case, you would have to ask: why is the music even necessary? Indeed, if this machine so expertly hits the pleasure centre of the brain, why would anyone even leave the house?!
The team are certainly not short on confidence. Cartledge says the 'Nervana', which is patent pending, is just the first step in a series of biotech devices they plan to release.
Nervana is scheduled to be released in Spring of 2016 and will cost $299. For more information, please visit www.ExperienceNERVANA.com and follow NERVANA on Twitter @Nervana_US and Facebook.com/NervanaUS for the latest updates.