Scientists Create Bionic Ear With Superhuman Range Of Frequency Hearing

bionic ear

Wearing a pair of these in the modern urban environment sounds torturous. Via Science Daily:

Scientists at Princeton University used off-the-shelf printing tools to create a functional ear that can “hear” radio frequencies far beyond the range of normal human capability. The scientists used 3D printing of cells and nanoparticles followed by cell culture to combine a small coil antenna with cartilage, creating what they term a bionic ear.

“This field has the potential to generate customized replacement parts for the human body, or even create organs containing capabilities beyond what human biology ordinarily provides,” the researchers wrote.

The ear in principle could be used to restore or enhance human hearing. Electrical signals produced by the ear could be connected to a patient’s nerve endings, similar to a hearing aid. The current system receives radio waves, but the research team plans to incorporate other materials, such as pressure-sensitive electronic sensors, to enable the ear to register acoustic sounds.

13 Comments on "Scientists Create Bionic Ear With Superhuman Range Of Frequency Hearing"

  1. Read this and nearly ate my own face off. The thing I hate the most about making psytrance with LSD is that I have to leave behind the super enhanced hearing when the trip’s over. Gibson’s microsoft slowly becoming reality. I couldn’t be more excited if you told me I could have a free flight to the moon.

  2. Read this and nearly ate my own face off. The thing I hate the most about making psytrance with LSD is that I have to leave behind the super enhanced hearing when the trip’s over. Gibson’s microsoft slowly becoming reality. I couldn’t be more excited if you told me I could have a free flight to the moon.

  3. I can’t exactly say why, but my gut tells me nothing useful will ever come of this.

    • InfvoCuernos | May 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm |

      Ya, while I was reading this I was thinking “this tech will never help deaf kids hear, this will be for govt use only” and the other I thought was ” but I bet the medical industry will make a killing off of enhanced genitals”.

      • That’s assuming that governments are gonna be the only people producing the technology.

        edit: sorry governments? how old hat. It’ll be corporations by then I suppose.

        • Brandon Wright | May 6, 2013 at 1:34 pm |

          Yeah… I’m thinking private corporations and black projects are going to get to Trans-humanism FAR before the military does…

  4. Chrispin Barnes | May 5, 2013 at 5:00 am |

    This is all well and good for people with deformities, injuries, and with legitimate hearing problems. However, start thinking of these sort of things as ‘upgrades’ and you will lose your humanity. I mean this here, the enhanced hearing, but also so-called enhancements yet to come. Forced ‘evolution’ at a price, available only to those that can afford it. Soon after, people without these ‘upgrades’ will be discriminated against, denied jobs requiring these enhancements, perhaps even denied insurance. Billions of people will come to be viewed, by the new super-human class, as a defacto sub-species.
    They will not be super-human, they will be tragically dependent on technology to even function. People today can’t even figure out what to do when the power goes out and all they have is a credit card. “OMG! The ATM is working!” Imagine that kind of dependency for normal body functions… Poor things. Transhumanism is for the weak.

    • Some good points raised here, although I would maybe ask for your definition of ‘humanity’ and a more detailed explanation of how evolution can be ‘forced’. From the anime and scifi I’ve seen/read the issue of what it means to be human seems to remains to me a complicated question with no one definitive answer.

      **spoiler alert** Consider the Case of Major Kusanagi from the film/series Ghost in the Shell who, involved in an accident as a small child, lost the use of her body and was almost completely replaced by a biomechanical one except for her brain and then later on makes the ‘ultimate’ transition to digital information. Forsaking the meat, as it were. And there is a vivid depiction of the frailty of the meat in the crucial final scene of the first film. Kusanagi, already experiencing an amorphous sense of being, finally transcends individual identity. Conversely, the second film’s tagline is ‘When machines start to feel, who decides what is human?’ The Tachikoma from the series who were not, as it is popularly known as, ‘human’ to begin with, exhibit qualities so identifiable that one could believe they possessed the consciousness of human children.

      Whilst discussing this with my husband he commented that in the body modification culture there is a term known as “mehun” – ” mere human ” – somebody who doesn’t want these modifications for themselves or for anyone else. They are defined as ‘mere humans’ because that’s exactly what they want to be. They are perceived as non +synthetic or +spiritual. Of course this is also a good example of the elegant tango of the usual bigotry on both sides. I’ve been denied jobs for having dreadlocks and been required to remove piercings because it ‘scares people’ regardless of pleasant social demeanor and of my reasons for having them. I’ve been subject to social exclusion simply for having a different opinion or being perceived as a higher or lower financial class. I’ve been fired from jobs because I work hard or don’t work hard enough. The list goes on, because to me it’s the same domination dance just presented in slightly different clothes.

      I think transhumanism can push one out of ‘normal’ definitions of fixed identity and the power struggles born of them. Which seems important if we’re really thinking about bringing life into the world that we have worked so hard at creating to be like us yet are qualitatively different beings.

      • Brandon Wright | May 6, 2013 at 1:32 pm |

        Looks like Star Trek will be right, get ready for the Eugenics Wars.

        “With Superhuman power comes Super Ego”

        Imagine the elite bastards ruling the world. Now imagine them “immortal” because they are now Terminators…

        Nothing good can come from this while we live in a monetary world…

        • I don’t have to imagine elite bastards ruling the world, it’s happening right now as far as I can see. And has anybody seen Hugh Hephner age a day in the last decade or so? Transhumanism will change the field quicker than the game.

          From what I can tell nobody will be perfectly “immortal” for a very long time to come anyway. The question of vulnerability seems a complicated issue:

    • Calypso_1 | May 6, 2013 at 1:47 pm |

      Given some of the backlash already coming out against things such as google glass I think that initially there will be discrimination against those that do have elective bio-enhancements. Certainly there would be some very elite jobs that would integrate them but as far as general public acceptance? So yes you would see a societal division, but based on divisions that already exist along economic & educational/technical lines.

      • I think if we get our act together as a species educating each other and ourselves, as Rushkoff puts it, ‘developing an online culture of learning’, it would go a long way towards levelling the field. I for one would love to learn how to make a droid! Can’t be that hard right? ;D If Dave Lister can do it….

  5. Gadget Mill | May 9, 2013 at 3:56 pm |

    I own a gadget recycling website and will be putting up superhuman ears as a product! Just kidding – but if anyone wants to sell their gadgets check out:

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