Pick up any health, food, or beauty magazine these days and you are bound to find a new latest article on the ‘Joys of Dopamine.’ It is akin to the ‘devil on your shoulder.’ This neurotransmitter is best known for its work during our time of craving and lust, be it gambling, sex, food, or our favorite music genre.
At its very core, dopamine is a chemical, nothing more. It is released into the space in between nerves (called the synapse) and hangs around there until it is recognized by the receptors of the adjacent nerve, thus propagating the signal. In the case of dopamine, the sensation is euphoric. When this chemical is in between multiple neurons on a larger scale, the feeling can be ecstatic. We enjoy how it makes us feel, and thus want more. This is the basis for a device coming from a company out of Lake Worth, Florida. Named ‘NERVANA’ (an amalgam of the terms ‘Nerve’ and ‘Nirvana’), this device sends a signal to the vagus (the tenth cranial nerve) via your ear canal to stimulate the release of dopamine in the brain (one of the many pathways that dopamine is involved in).
The NERVANA headphones look like any other, but are designed in-house with proprietary circuitry to work with another go between in the form of the NERVANA Generator box, a patent-pending proprietary perpetrator of pleasure. There are three modes in which the box can be used. Music mode analyzes the music and outputs a signal that is in sync to the music, allowing the user to literally ‘feel’ the music, be it Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 or Carpathian Forest’s cover of The Cure’s “A Forest.” Ambient Mode uses the internal microphone to analyze the environmental sounds around it and cater the signal towards that goal. Last, but not least, the Formula Mode allows the use of NERVANA without music, via a pre-defined nerve stimulation user selected signal pattern. This setup will set you back $299, but if you’re into getting into the music on a deeper level, this might be worth the mettle.
We’ll have to wait and see how the uses of this can be expanded upon besides a personal experience. It may well be used to enhance a concert as well as reduce the use of drugs at a rave for instance. Time will tell. Welcome to the new addiction, centuries in the making.
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